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JDU, NDA Alliance Split Away

Powerful regional party Janata Dal (United) dragged out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Sunday, a divide that could limp the rise of contentious Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi who hopes to drive out the ruling Congress party in elections due by May 2014. The Janata Dal (United) party or JD(U) , based in Bihar, declared it would end a 17-year-old association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the BJP encouraged firebrand leader Narendra Modi to guide its election movement. The exit could obstruct the chances of the Hindu nationalist BJP finding sufficient allies to mount a persuasive challenge to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's administration, whose second term has been inundated by scandals and a worsening economy. It could also give confidence a rag-tag of regional parties - with indecisive leaders and diverse local agendas - to form their own so-called third front coalition, which, if they were booming, could present a risk for Asia's third-largest financial system. Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar state and a senior JD(U) party leader, publicized the break with the BJP at a news conference. "BJP is going through a new stage. We are not in union with that. We cannot cooperate with our basic principles," Kumar said. The BJP prefer Modi to escort its election campaign on Sunday last week, a position that would in all likelihood make him the party's contender for prime minister. But his selection has exposed rifts within the BJP and the wide opposition alliance. Modi is one of India's most admired leaders, who has won honor from voters and business leaders for economic growth in the state of Gujarat under his stewardship as chief minister. But numerous people see him as too disruptive to lead the country. Kumar's vote support includes a major number of Muslims, which could have made it hard for him to throw his full support behind an alliance headed by Modi. The general election could hollow Modi against Rahul Gandhi, son of Congress party Chief Sonia Gandhi and the scion of India's most influential political dynasty.

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