Not against Modi as PM nominee, party to decide timing: Chouhan - The New Indian Express

Not against Modi as PM nominee, party to decide timing: Chouhan

Published: 06th September 2013 08:33 PM

Last Updated: 06th September 2013 09:10 PM

Amid reports that he was opposed to Narendra Modi being anointed BJP's prime ministerial candidate ahead of assembly elections in his state, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said the party would take a decision at the right moment.

Chouhan, seen as a potential challenger to Modi within the BJP, also termed as "baseless and misleading" reports in the media that he was against his Gujarat counterpart being declared as party's nominee for the top post.

"In BJP, the party is supreme and it will decide and declare the PM candidate at the right moment. Any speculation in this regard is avoidable," Chouhan said on microblogging website Twitter.

Media reports said Chouhan had met top party leaders to request them not to officially nominate Modi as BJP's prime ministerial contender until elections to Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly are over. The state is scheduled to go to poll in November-December this year.

"Reports in certain sections of media around my objection to Shri Narendra Modi being declared as PM candidate are baseless & misleading," Chouhan said in another Twitter post.

Also read: Modi's criticism is up since becoming BJP campaign panel chief: Rajnath

According to media reports, Chouhan, a two-term Chief Minister, had met BJP president Rajnath Singh and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to request them to defer announcement of Modi as candidate for the top job till the time elections in Madhya Pradesh get over as the Gujarat strongman was widely considered a polarising figure.

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's remarks came a day after Modi had said he does not dream of occupying the PM's post and would respect the people's mandate for serving his state till 2017.

"I never see such dreams (of becoming PM), nor am I going to see such dreams. People of Gujarat have given me the mandate to serve them till 2017 and I have to do this with full strength," Modi had said yesterday during an interaction with students in Gandhinagar.

Though Chouhan has often praised Modi and even called him his "elder brother", the unease between the two saffron satraps was evident when the Gujarat leader was conspicuous by his absence from propaganda posters of BJP's pre-poll road show 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra', despite being appointed to spearhead its election campaign.

The posters for Chouhan's 60-day road show had images of several top leaders-from veterans like Atal Behari Vajpayee and L K Advani to Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and even Ananth Kumar. However, Modi's photographs were included in the posters a few days later as media reports began suggesting it reflected the uneasiness between the two leaders.

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