New Delhi: Suggestive of a rift between top BJP leaders, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his displeasure over Sushma Swaraj’s remarks that he is unlikely to sway voters in Bihar.
The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, when asked whether Modi would camping in Bihar had said, “Modi`s magic and charisma have worked in Gujarat ... but it is not necessary that everybody`s magic works at every place.”
She said that it would be better if the "old arrangement" continued under which Modi had not campaigned during the 2005 Bihar Assembly polls and the 2009 general elections.
As per media reports, Thursday, Modi has made his displeasure clear to party chief Nitin Gadkari.
Many in the top rung of the party are said to be unhappy with this "uncalled for" statement from Swaraj.
"Nobody would agree with Swaraj on this issue, especially at a time when he has led the party to a sweeping victory in the local body elections in Gujarat," a senior leader said.
Observer opine that Swaraj’s statement looks like an attempt to underrate Modi’s charisma by projecting that his appeal is limited to his home state and can not work outside Gujarat.
The development is also indicative of a leadership race which has accelerated in the recent times after Advani’s exit from scene. Both Swaraj and Modi are seen as potential rivals to lead the party in the run up to the next Lok Sabha polls.
Ever since the elections in Bihar were announced, party’s allay JD(U) – with an eye on the minority vote - had made it clear that it wanted to keep Narendra Modi out of Bihar.
Owing to Modi’s hardline image, BJP central leadership had also refrained from sending the Gujarat Chief Minister for campaigning in Bihar, but, it appears that Swaraj’s open casting of apprehensions on his calibre has not gone down well with him and others in the party.