The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ally ire greets temple talk

Patna, Oct. 28: The Janata Dal (United) today reacted strongly to BJP chief L.K. Advani's declaration that his party was committed to building the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The JD (U), whose three-day workers' meet in Pawapuri ended today, refrained from taking any precipitate action on snapping ties with the BJP. But senior leader Nitish Kumar said the party would come out with an 'independent' manifesto for the Bihar Assembly polls next year.

Party sources said a decision on ties with the BJP could be taken at the meeting of the JD (U) national executive in Ranchi tomorrow.

The BJP, however, said there was no 'confusion' over the JD (U) continuing within the NDA. 'JD (U) president George Fernandes is the NDA's convener. There is no confusion over our relations, which continue to be very good. Party workers on both sides may prefer to go it alone so that they can get the maximum seats. But in the political realities of Bihar, there is no option for either side. If there is any misunderstanding, we can thrash it out,' BJP vice-president Sushil Modi said.

The JD (U) is in bad shape in Jharkhand, with four of its former ministers forming a separate outfit. The BJP's health, too, is not good in the state, scheduled to go to polls with Bihar.

Fernandes also played safe, saying the 'context' of Advani's statement needed to be studied.

The JD (U) has seen a nearly 'vertical split' on continuing ties with the BJP. Party sources said the 'dominant section' favours ending the arrangement. But top leaders have not come out with any definite course.

The JD (U) is also eagerly looking towards the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan, who wants to cobble together an anti-RJD formation, minus the BJP. Nitish has described Paswan as an old NDA ally.

but refrained from commenting on his rider to dump the BJP.

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