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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday tried to dispel the notion that he was against his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi’s coronation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Chouhan described as “baseless and misleading” reports in a section of the media that he wanted the party to postpone the announcement for its likely impact on Muslim-dominated seats in Madhya Pradesh, which is scheduled to go to polls soon.
“In BJP, the party is supreme and it will decide and declare the prime ministrial candidate at the right moment,’’ Chouhan tweeted in an attempt to clear himself of the controversy.
While Chouhan, regarded as a dark horse in the prime ministrial race, distanced himself from the reports, a question mark still hangs over Modi’s presence in Bhopal on September 25 when the Madhya Pradesh CM concludes his Janashirwad yatra amongst a large gathering of party workers. Although the BJP insists that he is being invited to Bhopal, there were reports that Bhopal does not figure in the list of engagements made public by Modi for the current month.
Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, who has been very vocal about pitching Modi for the top job, said his presence in Madhya Pradesh would actually increase the seat tally because Muslims have realised that he stands for development.
“This notion that Muslims won’t vote for the BJP because of Modi should be removed,’’ he said.
He also claimed that the minority community voted for him in the Gujarat assembly elections.
State BJP President Narendra Tomar blamed the attempt to create differences between Modi and Chouhan on the Congress.
“Undoubtedly, Modi is one of the most popular leaders but the parliamentary board will take a call on the prime ministrial candidate at an appropriate time,’’ he said.