Amid indications that a split in NDA is likely, top Bihar BJP leaders held an emergency meeting on Thursday and questioned the rationality of its ally Janata Dal(U)'s 'hue and cry' over its decision to make Narendra Modi the party's Lok Sabha campaign committee chief.
"Can we choose JD(U) president or its other office bearers? ... Likewise, no other party has any right to dictate us who should be given what post within the party," state party president Mangal Pandey told reporters here after the two-hour meeting.
"Till June 9, JD(U) state chief Bashist Narayan Singh and other leaders were saying the appointment of Narendra Modi is an internal matter of BJP ... What happened to them in the last two-three days that they are making such hue and cry?" he said.
"BJP did nothing against the coalition dharma during this period. Then, why are JD(U) leaders talking like this and straining relationship?" he said.
Later, BJP national vice-president C P Thakur told PTI that "there is no question of changing the decision (on the elevation of Narendra Modi)."
"This ultimatum is not acceptable to us," Thakur said referring to reports in a section of the press that JD(U) is insisting on revisiting the selection of Modi as campaign committee chief and firm confirmation that he will not be made the prime ministerial candidate to end the crisis.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, BJP national vice-president C P Thakur, all BJP ministers and state party office bearers.
Sushil K Modi has meanwhile stopped going to the ministry and cancelled all his official engagements.
In fact, a majority of BJP ministers did not attend office today. There are 11 BJP ministers in Nitish Kumar cabinet, including Sushil Kumar Modi who also holds the finance portfolio.
Sources close to him said that with the separation of JD(U) and BJP looking inevitable, Modi has stopped discharging his official functions and will not do so till the stalemate continues.
They said Modi has given instruction not to bring any file to him for disposal.
He has also cancelled two scheduled official programmes during the day.
Pandey said efforts are, however, still on to save NDA. "Since top JD(U) leaders have not come out with the party's decision on separation, we are keeping a wait-and-watch stand on the situation." he said.
The people of Bihar had voted NDA coalition to power and hence everybody should respect the mandate, he added.
The BJP leaders and ministers met for the second consecutive day today after a core committee meeting yesterday at Sushil Modi's home.
Pandey said today's meeting also discussed the visit of BJP President Rajnath Singh here on June 23.