Senior BJP leader LK Advani might prefer Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan over Narendra Modi in the race for the party’s prime ministerial candidate, but party president Rajnath Singh and Chouhan himself beg to differ.
While Singh repeated the oft quoted line about Modi---that he is the “most popular leader in the country---Chouhan, true to his reputation for humility, described Modi as his "senior and elder brother" and sought to rule himself out of race for being projected as BJP's prime ministerial face.
Comparing Chauhan's development model with that of Modi, Advani said in Gwalior on Saturday that Chouhan deserved more credit as he had transformed a BIMARU ---an acronym for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, four states viewed as laggards in terms of economic development---while while Modi only improved an already economically well-off Gujarat.
But Singh told reporters in Hyderabad that Advani's statement has been wrongly interpreted.
“There cannot be two opinions that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the country," Singh said.
Chouhan, sought to downplay the controversy, saying the BJP veteran had not praised any individual but the style of functioning of party chief ministers.
"Narendra 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 at number three," Chouhan said.