Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday sought to play down the controversy over absence of Narendra Modi`s image from posters for his rath yatra, saying the Gujarat Chief Minister was like his elder brother and the fuss over it was unnecessary.
Amid reports of a chill in his relations with Modi, Chouhan described BJP patriarch LK Advani as "our national leader".
"Advani ji is our national leader....For me, Modiji and everyone and he (Narendra Modi) is my elder brother," Chouhan said.
"Modi ji has done very good work and has presented a model of development to the country. I respect him a lot and this I have said time and again. He knows the truth and so do I. Such a controversy will make no difference," he said.
The absence of Modi`s photos from propaganda posters at the launch of Chouhan`s pre-election roadshow `Jan Ashirwad Yatra` had fuelled impressions of a rift between the two party satraps.
On the issue of Modi`s photos missing from the posters dotting the yatra route and whether it was done deliberately, Chouhan said there is no question of that.
"When a yatra travels from village to village, people put up posters of district, state and national leaders," he said.
"It is not necessary for the national leadership to participate in every programme. The yatra is going on from morning till late in the night and if we call our respected national leaders to attend each event then one can imagine how much time it will take," Chouhan said, adding, "for small villages, Shivraj is sufficient, brother."
Chouhan said wherever necessary, the national leadership would be present.
When asked if Modi would be present for the party`s September 25 rally in Bhopal, he said, "The entire national leadership will be there. We do not trouble them for small things. In Madhya Pradesh, we are enough to take care of things."
Absence of Modi`s photographs from the posters, despite his appointment as BJP`s election campaign committee chief to spearhead the party`s challenge in the next poll, had led many to infer there was strain in relations between the Gujarat strongman and Chouhan.
The posters had images of leaders ranging from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani to Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and even Ananth Kumar.
Chouhan`s remark at the launch of the yatra that "LK Advani is our supreme leader" was also seen as a snub to Modi.