Advani is the tallest leader in BJP: Shivraj Singh Chauhan
The debate on prime ministerial candidate is futile and BJP leaders should talk about this only before the Parliamentary board, says Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN.
Transcript of the interview
Nitish Kumar's comments on inclusive development
Every state has its own circumstances and needs. Gujarat is a developed state since last many years. There is no doubt that Modiji has taken it to a different level. Bihar has its own necessities and accordingly Nitish Kumar developed his model. The states have different needs and according to those needs the development model should be designed.
BJP being a communal party
'Sarv Dharma Sambhav' (all religions are equal) is the BJP's ideology. We are following that path and that path is good for all.
BJP is blessed to have so many seasoned leaders like Advaniji and Atalji. After Morarji Desai and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, these two leaders are responsible for nurturing the party. Then there is the second line leadership of Rajnathji, Sushmaji, Arunji, Murli Manohar Joshiji and Narendra Modiji.
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Image: Senior BJP leader L K Advani
Leaders taking different names will hurt party's movement
Prime ministerial candidate
This is baseless. In the BJP the Parliamentary Board is the authorised body to take decision on this. Whenever required the Parliamentary board will discuss and decide on it. I don't believe in whatever is being discussed outside. We are the party workers and we should be within the boundaries of discipline.
L K Advani's leadership
It's a blessing for our party that there are so many talented leaders with us, but no doubt L K Advani is the tallest leader. Everybody in this country knows this fact.
Advani as prime ministerial candidate
The Parliamentary board will decide on it. I'm not voting for anybody. My vote will be with someone who the party decides as the prime ministerial candidate.
I don't have a personal opinion on this. If needed, I will express my opinion before the Parliamentary board when asked. Different leaders taking different names will hurt party's movement. This will weaken the party's position. When I'm part of the party I've no right to say anything in the media. We should speak, whatever we want, before the right forum.
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Image: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan
Modi has a right to express his views in public
Modi promoting himself
Everybody has a right to express his views. When I was in Delhi on IBN7's programme I had kept my views. Modiji is not blowing his own trumpet. When I'm doing something good, I've a right to talk about it. It's for other states to accept it, if they feel it is beneficial.
Modiji has always cleared that he is not in the prime ministerial race. But he has a right to express his views in public.
Competition with Modi
I would like to compete only on one aspect and that is development. I can't allow Madhya Pradesh to remain backward. There should be a healthy competition among states on development. It's good for all.
I'm using social media to reach out to people and accept their suggestions. There is no hassle in using technology to keep yourself updated.
Debate on prime ministerial race
BJP workers know that few people want to keep this debate open unnecessarily. The party workers are not interested in it. I endorse what our party president has said on this.
There is a basic difference between BJP and Congress. Congress has been reduced to a party of dynasty, but within BJP simple individuals like me have grown up from ground level. The internal democracy is our strength. Nobody is pitched against anybody within the party. I discuss everything before the right forum in the party. But there is no scope for a different view in Congress.
On being in the prime ministerial race
I've only one desire to make Madhya Pradesh the most developed state of the country. We have to improve the living condition of each individual of Madhya Pradesh. I've a lot to do in Madhya Pradesh. Then only I would think of anything.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters