Amid speculation that it may split from the National Democratic Alliance on the Narendra Modi issue, the Janata Dal-United leadership in Bihar has asked its MLAs and MLCs to be present in Patna on June 14 and 15 to decide the fate of the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
"Views have been firmed up to end ties with BJP and only an announcement has to be made," a JD-U source said. The announcement is expected to be made after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar returns from his two-day 'Sewa Yatra' at Katihar beginning on Thursday, sources said.
'Sewa Yatra' is aimed at a testing efficiency of governance on the ground and the Katihar leg of the yatra was scheduled long back.
"The crux of consultations held by Kumar with senior party leaders, parliamentary party members and legislature party members during the past two days is that it will not possible for JD-U to continue with BJP after the elevation of Modi," the source said.
Kumar, however, did not respond to questions by journalists on the likely break-up after he emerged from a programme in Patna. He greeted them with folded hands before driving off.
During the day, BJP leader L K Advani spoke to Kumar and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav over phone and is believed to have impressed on the need for the NDA to stay united to face the Lok Sabha elections unitedly.
With things moving fast, BJP leaders in the state met at Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi's residence to discuss the situation. JD-U insiders said two Independent legislators met Kumar's close confidante R C P Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP of the party during the day and pledged support to the government in the event of the BJP departure from the ministry.
The two MLAs -- Pawan Kumar Jaiswal and Binay Bihari -- confirmed meeting Singh and said they had extended support to Kumar as they do not want Bihar to become Jharkhand and that the government complete its full term.
NDA convenor in Bihar and senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav said he had read about reports of discussions within the JD-U on severing ties in newspapers. "But nothing has come to the NDA officially ... The JD-U has to take a decision and than the NDA will react to it," he said.
The NDA government in Bihar was formed in November 2005 after ousting RJD on the basis of common minimum programme. "None of the two parties have gone away from CMP so there is no justification for breaking of ties," he said. Meanwhile, JD-U leaders have sharpened their attack on Modi.
Senior leader Shivanand Tewari in a scathing attack termed the Gujarat chief minister as a 'divisive personality' and ridiculed his proposal to build the proposed 'statue of unity' in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"Had Patel been alive in 2002, he would have caught Modi's ears and thrown him out from the chief minister's chair for the communal riots after Godhra," Tiwari, JD-U leader in Rajya Sabha and a close confidante of the Bihar CM, told PTI in Patna.
"Besides, Patel is known for keeping intact the unity and integrity of the country after Independence whereas people like Modi are out to destroy communal harmony in the society," he said and condemned the Gujarat CM for invoking name of the 'Iron Man' for political gains.
Modi had announced a nation-wide campaign to collect small pieces of iron from farmers for using it to build the proposed 'Statue of Unity' in the memory of Sardar Patel.