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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BJP allies hail Advani's anointment

NEW DELHI: The anointment of L K Advani as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate on Tuesday sparked an ugly spat between the saffron party and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while the decision was welcomed by the party's allies which said the veteran leader was a "natural choice".

The first shot was fired by Singh when he said the main Opposition party "crowned Advani" because the party was "nervous" and feared "threat" from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's leadership. He was addressing a campaign rally in Vadodara and talking to newsmen.
The BJP immediately hit back saying the comments by Singh only reflected his "frustration" and "disappointment" as he was not in a position to either "command or give direction" to his government. The party's opponents were also rattled, former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu said.
Amid the spat, BJP's allies JD(U) and Biju Janata Dal extended their support to Monday's decision despite his image of a hardline Hindutva leader.
"We have no objection. It is not a problem for us," JD(U) President Sharad Yadav said, adding "BJP is the largest ally of NDA and it is for that party to take a decision. So, his (Advani's) choice is but natural".
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader hailed the decision saying Advani was a "natural choice" after Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In a bitter personal attack, Naidu alleged that the Prime Minister was "disturbed" and "helpless" as the situation is that "he presides and Madam decides" while the Left parties are threatening to pull the rug beneath his government every other day.
"It was a panic reaction as the Congress does not have a leader to equal Advani in stature," he added.

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