Insisting that any past tensions between him and Uma Bharti are a "closed chapter", Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he will campaign for her in Charkhari, Uttar Pradesh, from where she is contesting polls.
"I have had a conversation with her and will certainly campaign for her in Charkhari. I will also welcome her to campaign for us in the next MP polls," Chouhan told HT in Delhi.
Asked about the much-talked 'tense' relationship between the two in the past — Bharti had fielded candidates against the BJP led by Chouhan in the last MP polls, and Chouhan had opposed her return to the party, eventually settling for her being kept 'out' of MP — he said, "That chapter is closed and a new one has begun. She is a party leader and we are ek mann (of one mind)."
He also hit out against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for ridiculing her as an export from MP. "Rahul Gandhi's comment is objectionable. It shows narrow mindedness and even double standards. I endorse Uma Bharti's statement that Rahul Gandhi should remember that Sonia Gandhi too came from Italy."
Bharti's candidature attests to her importance as the OBC face of the party in UP. Chouhan — himself OBC — said the BJP believed in including all sections.