Two days after BJP patriarch L K Advani sought to deflate the hype surrounding Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modis achievements by praising Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhans performance,senior party leaders on Monday claimed his remarks had been misinterpreted. Significantly,Advani did not issue any clarification.
BJP president Rajnath Singh,who was in Hyderabad for a party meeting today,sought to downplay Advanis remarks,saying Modi continued to be the most popular leader of the country.
There is no cold war in the BJP as some people are saying. I have said several times that Modi is the most popular leader in the country. Advanis observations have been misinterpreted. He praised all our chief ministers. I do not think Advani pitted Chouhan against Modi. There is no so-called cold war regarding the choice of prime ministerial candidate. A decision will be taken after the meeting of the central parliamentary board, said Singh.
His statement came after his meeting with Advani on Sunday. Singh is learnt to have called on Advani to discuss the agenda for the partys national executive meeting in Goa this weekend. Sources said the two leaders could have discussed the issue of misinterpretation of Advanis remarks.
Chouhan,who was also praised by Advani for his humility,today said,Modi is my senior,an elder brother. Raman Singh is also senior to me. Leave alone being number one,or number two,I am not even number three.
Speaking in Bhopal,Chouhan said: I want to say with all humility that Advani first praised Modi for his excellent work. He then praised Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Advani also praised the work done by the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. So,he did not praise any individual. He praised all (BJP) chief ministers,our style of functioning.
In Delhi,party general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy claimed the inference drawn from Advanis statement was a complete misrepresentation of his remarks. Like a statesman,he (Advani) had a positive word for all BJP chief ministers. Since he was addressing party workers,he had to boost the local leadership (Chouhan),but other inferences are complete misrepresentation, he claimed.