NDA PM candidate should have secular credentials

New Delhi: In comments which could spell fresh trouble for BJP-JD(U) alliance, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said NDA`s Prime Ministerial candidate should be somebody with "secular credentials", apparently giving a thumbs down to his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi.

Even as differences over the Presidential election continue to simmer between BJP and JD(U), Kumar has made comments which are contradictory to his ally`s views. He has hinted that Modi–who is being touted as the first choice of BJP for Prime Minister`s post–does not fit the bill.

Differing with the BJP view that the Prime Minister will be chosen after the Lok Sabha elections, Kumar said, "The NDA will have to declare its nominee. The electorate should know who they are voting for and who will lead the country. The NDA should have a leader who can feel for the underdeveloped states like Bihar.

"It should not be someone who can develop developed states, but who has a feel for underdeveloped states," he said in an interview to The Economic Times. Though Kumar has not named anybody, he was apparently referring to Modi, with whom he does not enjoy a healthy relationship. The two had a war of words recently when Kumar attacked Modi for saying Bihar had lagged behind due to caste politics.

Kumar had then said Modi is like the pot calling the kettle black. "One whose hands are full of communalism does not have the moral right to malign others for casteism," Kumar said. Stressing on declaring the PM candidate in advance, Kumar said, "This leader should be acceptable to every constituent of the alliance. To me, the leader of the coalition should have secular credentials."