The BJP and its ally JD-U on Friday appealed to each other to reconsider their respective decision over the Presidential election. While the main opposition party at the Centre appealed to its senior ally in Bihar to reconsider its decision to support UPA candidate and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,the JD-U urged the saffron party to support Mukherjees bid.
While BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad,who was leading the partys jail bharo agitation against inflation in Patna,urged the JD-U to review their decision to support Mukherjee and instead back NDA nominee P A Sangma,JD-U spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari appealed to the BJP to back the candidature of a seasoned and experienced politician like Pranab Mukherjee.
While top BJP leaders were leading the nationwide jail bharo agitation against inflation in different parts of the country,the JD-U went in overdrive to back Mukherjees candidature and exonerating him from the responsibility of the persistently high level of inflation during his regime.
So,while Prasad said the BJPs decision to contest the Presidential polls was also to protest Mukherjees mishandling of economic issues that caused price rise and his refusal to make public the names of those who have stashed away black money abroad and failure to take steps to bring back the wealth lying in foreign banks,Tiwari said: Even if Ravishankar Prasad had been Union Finance Minister,he would not have been able to control inflation.
Though Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continued to refrain from giving any statement on the BJP,Tiwari went on to say that if US catches cold,India is bound to sneeze. He,however,repeated the party line of being anti-Congress and said they opted to support Mukherjee because the BJP went ahead with borrowed choice of P A Sangma.
Another JD-U Rajya Sabha MP Sabir Ali defended Mukherjee but criticised the Congress. The fact that we are supporting Mukherjee does not mean that we approve economic policies of the UPA, he said.
Senior BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley,Rajnath Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,who led BJPs jail bharo agitation in Delhi,on Friday charged the Congress-led UPA government for having failed in managing the economy,primary responsibility for which fell on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha,Sushma Swaraj,who led the agitation in Bhopal,also faulted the wrong economic policies of the Congress-led UPA government for persistently high inflation and said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee should ideally support the Presidential bid of Sangma.
Mamatas candidate was former President A P J Abdul Kalam who has refused to contest the Presidential polls so,rationally,she should have supported Sangma,who is a capable leader from the Northeast, Swaraj told reporters after courting arrest in Bhopal.
Party president Nitin Gadkari,who led the BJP agitation in Nagpur,also highligted price rise and closure of industries as an outcome of the faulty economic policies of the UPA government.
Incidentally,former BJP general secretary Sanjay Joshi,a bete noire of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,did not participate in the BJP agitation despite having planned to participate at Gurgaon.
Meanwhile,Mukherjee called up Kumar on Friday to express his gratitude for the JD-U supporting his candidature.