Vice Prez Poll: Nitish meets Jaswant, backs him

New Delhi: As attempts are being made to seek more support for NDA Vice Presidential nominee Jaswant Singh, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today met him at his residence and pitched for NDA unity. Extending his party`s full support to Singh, Kumar said NDA is together in the August 7 Vice President election.

"NDA is together…We support him (Jaswant Singh)," Kumar told reporters after the meeting. Asked if he will talk to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for her party`s support for Singh, Kumar said the BJP leaders are competent to do so. He, however, parried questions on Modi`s "hang me" comments in the context of post-Godhra riots of 2002.

Kumar was accompanied by party MPs Shivanand Tiwari, N K Singh, R C P Singh and Baidyanath Mahato during his meeting with Singh. BJP leaders Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who are assisting Singh in the poll, were also present. Singh thanked Kumar for his party`s support to him and said "I am grateful to Nitish Kumar for his support." He said he was wanting to meet the Bihar Chief Minister in Patna but Kumar instead chose to visit him in Delhi.

Sources said BJP is making attempts to woo AIADMK and BJD, besides some other smaller parties in a bid to put up a good fight in the Vice Presidential poll. JD-U chief Sharad Yadav later said Nitish Kumar had come to meet Jaswant Singh and gave an assurance that he would have no problems in Bihar in the Vice President poll. Yadav brushed aside speculation about Nitish Kumar meeting Jaswant Singh in Delhi and said "nothing much should be read into it".

"There is nothing to worry in Bihar (about support to NDA`s Vice Presidential candidate)", he added. Yadav also parried questions about Modi`s "hang me" interview remarks. Ahead of the August 7 Vice Presidential poll, NDA constituents had met at the residence of BJP leader L K Advani earlier this week in a bid to keep its flock together. NDA nominee Jaswant Singh is pitted in a direct contest against incumbent Hamid Ansari of UPA. A total of 790 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs comprise the electoral college for the election of Vice President.