Madhya Pradesh: Narendra Modi may be the star of the BJP’s campaign for next month’s general election, but at several meetings addressed by Sushma Swaraj in Madhya Pradesh, his name did not come up even once.
Addressing party workers in Vidisha, the constituency from where she is contesting the election, Ms Swaraj effusively praised Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but did not mention her party’s prime ministerial candidate at all.
“Shivraj Singh had run the government in such a way that he has scored a hat-trick after winning 23 more seats. And voters have made him the chief minister for the third time. He is popular all over Madhya Pradesh,” she said in one of the meetings on Monday.
Her omission, deliberate or not, has not gone unnoticed at a time when the party is fighting the perception of a divide within.
“Sushma Swaraj did not even mention Narendra Modi, on whose name she will fight the election here. That is not right,” a BJP worker told NDTV after the meeting.
Another remarked, “There is Modi wave across India. She should have mentioned his name.”
Ms Swaraj is among the BJP leaders, who have, in the past few days, gone public with their dissent over the choice of candidates and constituencies.
Last week, she openly objected to the party’s decision to readmit a controversial Karnataka politician, B Sriramulu. She also came out in support of Jaswant Singh, who has filed his nomination as an independent candidate after the party refused to field him from the constituency of his choice, Barmer in Rajasthan, where he was born.
But in what was seen as a snub to Ms Swaraj, Mr Singh, and LK Advani, who was reportedly upset at being asked to contest from Gandhinagar instead of his preferred seat of Bhopal, BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote in a blog that leaders must learn to take “no” and accept party decisions with a smile.