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‘Modi is most popular leader’

With the National Executive meet of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be held on 8 June,  senior  BJP leader LK Advani has already warmed up to prime ministerial candidate debate within the party. A few days ago Advani seemed to prefer Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, for the candidate of prime minister, but on Monday BJP president Rajnath Singh said that Modi is the most popular leader in the country.

‘I think Advani’s statement has been wrongly interpreted. There cannot be two opinions that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the country,’ said BJP president Rajnath Singh.
 
The BJP president, however, said that it will be the parliamentary board of the party which will take the final decision on  prime ministerial candidate.

The issue of prime ministership has been plaguing the party for long, with allies like Janata Dal (United) expressing reservations over Modi’s candidature and Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj categorically stating that Advani’s name can also not be ruled out from the race.

However, on Monday attempts were made by the Madhya Pradesh chief minister to douse the prime ministerial debate, who said that Advani 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 Raman Singh,  he also extolled Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Advani also praised the work done by 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, ' said Chouhan.

The Madhya Pradesh chief minister also sought to downplay  that he is a contender for the top post. ‘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,’ said Chouhan.

Advani had recently compared Chouhan with former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee and had said that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister is as humble as Vajpayee.
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