Putting a lid on the controversy arising out of the perception that Bihar BJP leaders were 'unwelcome' in Gujarat, chief minister Narendra Modi telephoned state party president C P Thakur, inviting him and other leaders to his state to campaign for the party.
"Modiji telephoned me yesterday (Sunday) to say that an unnecessary confusion has been created by the perception that Bihar BJP leaders are barred from campaigning in the Gujarat elections slated for December. He told me all BJP leaders and workers are welcome in Gujarat for the poll", an agency report said, quoting Thakur.
BJP MP and spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said, "There is nothing like Bihar versus Gujarat in the BJP. We all work together to ensure victory of the party in elections anywhere in the country."
Bihar road construction minister and senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav echoed similar views. "Jhoot ka issue ban diya gaya tha (an issue was created falsely)," he said.
Modi's call came a day after the BJP said its prominent leaders from Bihar would campaign in the poll-bound Gujarat, rejecting earlier reports suggesting he had asked them to stay away from electioneering there.
Media reports had also suggested that Bihar BJP leaders were not welcome in Gujarat for being too close to JD (U) leader and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Kumar had in the past expressed his strong reservations about the lack of 'secular credentials' of his Gujarat counterpart, over the 2002 riots. Modi was kept away from assembly polls in Bihar in 2010 as well as in 2005 in view of Kumar's protest.