New Delhi: After Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hit back over the Gujarat riots issue, BJP on Wednesday piped down its attack on JD(U) and expressed confidence that the alliance with it will remain intact.

BJP also said the Godhra train burning incident was "unfortunate" and that it was the collective responsibility of the Union Cabinet led by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

"We had BJP government in Gujarat...the incident was unfortunate. There had been several debates on the issue. There is no need to reopen it again," party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said. He said while Nitish Kumar was on Tuesday replying to the Sabarmati Express burning issue raised by RJD Chief Lalu Prasad, the media had projected as if the Bihar Chief Minister was attacking BJP.

His remarks on Sabarmati Express burning are at variance with another BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi's comments that the Bihar Chief Minister was the then the Railway Minister. She had implied that Kumar too was responsible for protection of passengers.

Before Lekhi's comments, another BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman had said "it is unfortunate if they concentrate their energies on our Chief Ministers and dilute the focus of removing UPA. BJP will continue its determined effort in this direction. We reject all unfounded inferences against Narendra Modi."

As compared to Lekhi and Sitharaman, Hussain sounded more toned down on BJP's stand towards Kumar and JD(U). Replying to a volley of questions on the spat between BJP and JD(U) on clamour in BJP to project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate, Hussain said "so far, we are together. Ummeed pe duniya kayam hai (there is always hope). The government is doing fine." Hussain said BJP and JD(U) had been in alliance for the last 17 years and "we want NDA to expand".

"The alliance (in Bihar) is the in the interest of 10 crore Biharis," he said. Replying to a poser on another ally Shiv Sena's demand that BJP leadership should clear its stand on the issue of its prime ministerial candidate and demanded that a meeting of the NDA be convened soon, he said as and when the BJP Parliamentary Board takes a decision it will be conveyed.

"Allies also say that since BJP is the biggest constituent, it should announce its (Prime ministerial) candidate. Therefore, allow BJP to decide. As and when the Board decides on the issue, it will be conveyed to you from this dais," Hussain said.


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