Ujjain: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will launch his re-election yatra on Monday. But ahead of it, posters put up for the yatra include all national BJP leaders but not his rival Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The posters depict LK Advani, party chief Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Chouhan will begin his yatra to seek a third term in office from Ujjain. The yatra is aimed at mobilising the masses ahead of the state elections later this year. It will cover 224 Assembly constituencies.
This comes at a time when Narendra Modi is travelling around the country after being anointed as the BJP election campaign panel chief. In fact, BJP President Rajnath Singh has been all praise for Modi saying he is the only leader with 'national appeal'.
Ruling himself out of the prime ministerial race, Rajnath Singh on Sunday virtually anointed Narendra Modi as its man to the top job if the party comes to power after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He also claimed that the party will get more allies to fight the polls. The developmental issues rather than the Ram Janam Bhoomi dispute would dominate BJP's poll campaign.
"It's not necessary that party president should also be a crowd puller and a prime ministerial candidate. I have an assignment to do for my party. I have a job to deliver - that is victory of the party in the 2014 elections."
"Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Chairman of the party's Election Campaign Committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do and why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party," he told a press conference in New York at the start of his five-day trip to New York and Washington.
This even as Advani has been preferring Chouhan over Modi. Chouhan had last month also differed with Modi when he raised the Kedarnath temple rebuilding issue after the Uttarakhand floods. Chouhan had said the time was not right to discuss about reconstruction of the shrine in Uttarakhand destroyed in the flash floods. "The time is not right... There is no hurry in talking about the reconstruction of the Kedarnath temple. It will be taken care of by the Uttarakhand government," Chouhan had said.
"The shrine will be re-built by the state government with the cooperation of seers and saints," he said. Terming the calamity in Uttarakahand as "very big", Chouhan urged "all the concerned to do their best to mitigate the impact". Modi had offered to rebuild the temple which was turned down by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna saying it will be done by his government and the temple committee.