After the snub from ally JD(U), BJP today embarked on some damage control by attempting a patch up with the party even president Nitin Gadkari spoke of approaching several UPA constituents to discuss a possible Presidential candidate.
Gadkari complained the government had not consulted his party, the principal Opposition, on the issue. BJP would have considered it had the government come up with the name of a person, who is independent, impartial and fair to reach a consensus, he said.
A day after differences surfaced in the NDA, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj today met JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is also the NDA convenor, and is believed to have tried to patch up issues with him on her remarks on the Presidential election.
Sources said the meeting came about after senior BJP leader L K Advani expressed the view that NDA should not appear divided on a Presidential candidate.
Differences surfaced in the NDA yesterday over Swaraj's remarks that the BJP would oppose any Congress move to nominate Pranab Mukherjee or Vice President Hamid Ansari as a candidate.
Yadav took serious objection to her statement saying it was not his party's view and the issue had so far not been discussed in the NDA.
After the meeting between Swaraj and Yadav, both parties have agreed not to air views on the issue till a meeting of the NDA is held and a decision is taken on the Presidential candidate.
"What Swaraj had said was the BJP's view. The matter had not been discussed with other NDA partners, including JD(U). A meeting of the NDA will be held soon to discuss the matter," a senior BJP leader said.
JD(U) has reportedly conveyed to BJP that Swaraj's comments about Ansari not having 'the stature' to be President has put the party in difficulty in Bihar. It has been wooing the sizable minority community in the state and her comments would antagonise them.
RJD, JD(U)'s main political adversary in Bihar, was the first to publicly say that Ansari can be a candidate for President.
"Regional parties play an important role in gathering votes. We will decide after discussion with them, with NDA and other small political parties... and even with some parties under UPA," Gadkari told reporters in Indore.