Days after L K Advani showered praise on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the latter described Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as his "senior and elder brother" and clarified that he was not a contender for the prime minister’s post.
Chouhan sought to downplay the controversy, saying the BJP veteran had not praised any individual but the style of functioning of party chief ministers.
"I want to say with all humility that Advani first praised Narendra Modi for his excellent work. He then praised (Chhattisgarh Chief Minister) Raman Singh. He also extolled Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Advani also praised the work done by the BJP's Madhya Pradesh government led by me. So he did not praise any individual. He praised all BJP chief ministers, our style of functioning. This is what he meant to say, this is the gist of what he said," Chouhan told reporters in Bhopal.
Chouhan also appeared to rule himself out of contention in the BJP's prime ministerial race, saying, "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."
Advani had extolled the Madhya Pradesh chief minister as "humble" at a party function on Saturday.
"Vajpayee implemented several developmental schemes, including a road network, but he always remained very humble and far away from arrogance. Similarly, Chouhan has also formulated a large number of development and welfare schemes like Ladli Laxmi scheme and Mukya Mantri Teerth Darshan Yojna and implemented them successfully. Despite so many achievements, Chouhan never had any ego. I found Chouhan very humble, like Vajpayee," Advani had told BJP's booth-level coordinators in Gwalior.
He said Gujarat was already a "healthy" state when Modi assumed charge and he transformed it into the "best" state, but what Chouhan did was to successfully turn around a bimaru (laggard) state into a developed one.