New Delhi: At a time when speculations are making rounds regarding a possible split of nearly 17-year-old alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the leaders of the saffron party have intensified their efforts to keep the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) intact.

In a latest development, BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior party leader MM Joshi spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to convince him not to pull out of the NDA. Even earlier, BJP veteran LK Advani too had spoke to Kumar and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav over the issue.

According to the BJP sources, Advani also spoke to Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday night after speaking to Bihar CM and JD-U chief. It’s said that Advani requested Badal to have a word with Nitish Kumar in order to keep the coalition ship sailing.

Nitish Kumar is reportedly upset with BJP over Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s appointment as the chief of party’s poll campaign committee for 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

JD-U hints at tie-up with Cong

Amidst all these developments, JD-U has hinted at joining hands with the Congress, if the party, which is leading a coalition government at the Centre, grants Bihar CM’s long-standing demand of granting ‘special status’ to Bihar.

JD-U spokesperson Rajeev Ranjan has already stated that the party was not averse to supporting the Congress if the UPA government at the Centre grants the status of backward state to Bihar.

"In politics, all possibilities are open. Right now we are a part of the NDA and our first priority is to take a decision on this alliance," Ranjan was quoted as saying by a news channel.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is making all attempts to bring in Nitish Kumar’s JD-U and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s BJD together, in order to explore the prospect of setting up a federal front.

She has said that the Bihar Chief Minister has given positive signals on her proposal for formation of the federal front.

JPN