JD-U to await announcement of UPA VP candidate

New Delhi: JD(U) today said that it will wait for Congress-led UPA to announce its nominee for the Vice Presidential election and will talk to its NDA allies before taking any decision on the issue. "No decision has been taken yet on the issue of Vice Presidential election. We will consider viewpoints of all opposition parties and will discuss it with our NDA allies," JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav told reporters here.

On whether it will favour a contest or support UPA`s candidate, Yadav said, "We will wait for UPA to announce its candidate. How do you play football when there is no ball in the field." He said that he had spoken to JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today morning on the issue and the matter will be discussed within the party before taking any decision. "It will not be good to speculate about our decision. We have yet not decided anything," Yadav said.

In an apparent division of opinion within NDA on the Presidential poll issue, JD(U) has supported UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the country`s top job. But Yadav has been denying reports of any rift within the opposition coalition on this issue. Explaining the comments he made yesterday over donations offered to Padmanabha and Mahalakshmi temples in Kerala and Maharashtra respectively, Yadav said the offerings were public money which should be used for bettering conditions and providing facilities at the pilgrimage spots.

"All the money received in these two Hindu temples is a public money and it should be taken over by the Indian government and used for improvement of all Hindu religion pilgrimage places in the country," he said. Yadav also made a mention of other religious bodies such as Waqf Board, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthatnams, Rama Krishna Mission and SGPC on the issue of public offerings.

"These organisations have their own by-laws and are doing a praiseworthy service. In the similar pattern, a body of famous Hindu saints like Murari Bapu and others can be formed to utilise this money for improving the condition of Hindu pilgrimage places," he said.

Asked about his statement over remarks made by Home Minister P Chidambaram on middle class attitude towards price rise, Yadav said, "I did not defend Chidambaram. Prices have risen in all areas including those for rice and wheat. Rise in prices has impacted all commodities and a large section of middle class has been hurt by it." He demanded closure of commodity exchanges in the country and said, "These exchanges act as middlemen and are responsible for such soaring prices of essential commodities."