Prominence to Narendra Modi in MP posters irks some, BJP defends move

Written by PTI | Bhopal | Updated: Apr 1 2014, 21:37pm hrs
As Narendra Modi's pictures eclipse other top BJP stalwarts on poll posters here, a senior party leader says it was compelled to project a single leader to gain political mileage.

The posters with slogans like 'Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkar' have taken over those with pictures of top leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani.

"BJP is compelled to project a single person as its leader as other parties too are doing so because of leader-centric politics, which is gaining currency in the country these days," said state BJP Vice President and MP, Raghunandan Sharma.

"Whether it is Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mulayam Singh, Mayawati, Mamata or Jayalalithaa -- all parties are following leader-centric politics these days. BJP is also doing so as it feels that it would prove to be politically beneficial," said Sharma, who was been denied party ticket from Mandsaur.

Sharma said he felt "hurt and insulted" on being denied the party ticket but maintained that BJP was "different from other political parties on the basis of policies, philosophy and principles".

Posters in Madhya Pradesh also display a photograph of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while party's founders Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya as well as Vajpayee and Advani were eclipsed.

State Congress leaders, however, don't agree with BJP's argument and said the trend goes to show how the party treats its veterans.

"This is the problem with Modi. It appears that now only Modi is left in the BJP. That shows how the party has treated its seniors. He has no respect for them or their contribution," state Congress' newly-appointed chief spokesman, KK Mishra, told PTI.

"Had Modi respected them, he would have ensured their photographs got due place in BJP's frontline posters," Mishra said.

He charged that the problem with Modi was that he considers himself larger than the party and, like Gujarat, he would try to usurp the entire party at the national level as well.

During 2013 Assembly election campaign, disappearance of Modi's photographs from the posters dotting the state had become a major issue and was seen as a major tussle between him and Advani's protege, Chouhan.

Advani had also compared Chouhan's leadership with Vajpayee. However, Modi's photographs were later given due prominence in the posters and banners in the state.

During a Google Hangout session when a person wanted to know why the photograph of Modi was missing from the background that prominently displayed the pictures of Vivekananda, Vajpayee and Advani, Chouhan had replied: "No one should worry about it as Modi-ji resides in my heart."