Patna: In a major setback to NDA ahead of next year's Lok Sabha election, JD-U on Sunday broke its ties with BJP in protest against the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

JD-U president Sharad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar formally announced the end of the coalition at a press conference, exactly a week after Modi was made the BJP's campaign committee chairman. Sharad Yadav also resigned as the convenor of the NDA.

"The JD-U is formally out of NDA and we have ended our alliance with the BJP," Yadav said.

JD-U also removed 11 saffron ministers from the state Cabinet and decided to seek a vote of confidence on June 19. "I have urged the Governor to call a special session of the Assembly on June 19 for a confidence vote," the Chief Minister said after meeting Governor DY Patil.

"We cannot compromise with our basic principles. We are not worried about the consequences. As long as the alliance was Bihar-centric, there was no problem. But we had no alternative now. We are not responsible. We were forced to take this decision,” Kumar said.

"The BJP is going through a new phase. As long as there was no external interference in the Bihar alliance, it ran smoothly. Problems began whenever there was external interference," Kumar said.

The decision was taken after a Cabinet meet, chaired by the Chief Minister, at 1, Anne Marg (official residence of Nitish Kumar). All 11 BJP ministers in Nitish’s Cabinet skipped the meet.

In an indirect reference to Modi's new appointment in BJP, Kumar said that there was no problem when the late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitley were made campaign committee chiefs in the past. "Everybody knew what were our basic concerns," he said.

In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 118 MLAs and BJP 91. JD-U just needs four MLAs for a majority. Independents and 'Others' account for 6 MLAs. The RJD has 22 members and Congress had four members in the state assembly.

The Bihar Chief Minister said there is a need to enlarge the umbrella of NDA by bringing in new allies if the alliance wanted to form the next government at the Centre. "You want to form the government, but don't be under the misconception. No single party is going to get the majority. It requires 272 MPs to make somebody the Prime Minister," he said.

"For that the NDA has to get more allies. If people think there is some wave or a storm is blowing in their favour, they are under a misconception," he said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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