New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has conveyed to the BJP high command that his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi should not be projected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate before Assembly polls, said sources on Friday. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has conveyed the message to party President Rajnath Singh and senior party leader LK Advani last week. The remarks came even as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh top brass is set to meet top BJP leaders next week to discuss Modi’ elevation. Meawhile, Chouhan’s office is denying the statement saying that he has never written to anyone or opposed Modi.
Sources said that senior party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Advani have also opposed Modi’s elevation until after the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later in 2013. Dismissing reports of the rift bewteen Modi and Chouhan, party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Shivraj Singh Chouhan had invited Narendra Modi to campaign in Madhya Pradesh. He will be present as a part of a huge event in the state and other places too.” On Thursday, Modi had denied harbouring prime ministerial aspirations and said he had no intentions of becoming anything, but he just wants to serve the people of Gujarat. He has said his priority is to serve the people of Gujarat till 2017 as he has been voted in by the state electorate. These statements by Modi come at a time when the BJP seems to be divided on making him the Prime Ministerial candidate. Top RSS leader Bhaiyyaji Joshi met senior BJP leader LK Advani and some other top leaders on Sunday night to discuss the issue. While Modi supporters have been pushing for his announcement as the prime ministerial candidate, the Advani camp insists this will polarise the polity at a time when the UPA is grappling with corruption, economic crisis and non-performance. Earlier this month, former union minister and BJP leader Arun Shourie had said that Modi is the party’s prime ministerial candidate. Speaking to CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate, Shourie called Modi’s rivals ‘stateless leaders from Delhi’. The rift between the two BJP chief ministers was seen on an earlier occasion too ahead of Chouhan’s re-election yatra. The posters put up for the yatra included all national BJP leaders but not Modi. The posters depicted Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.