Gaur last fortnight stirred up a hornet’s nest when he attended a book release ceremony organised by the Congress here.
Bhopal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “warm” handshake with BJP veteran Babulal Gaur, who has been sulking ever since he was dropped from the Shivraj Singh Chouhan ministry in 2016 “for crossing 75 years of age”, followed by an “inspiring rem-ark”, “ek baar aur (once more), Gaurji”, during his recent visit to Bhopal has created a buzz in the ruling party here, sending a note of optimism in the dissidents’ camp.
After addressing the mega BJP rally here on September 25, Mr Modi had exchanged greetings with senior leaders of the party present on the dais on the occasion.
While shaking hands with Mr Gaur, who won the Assembly elections from Govindpura seat in Bhopal district a record 10 times in a row, the Prime Minister was heard exhorting him, “ek baar aur, Gaurji”, leaving the former chief minister “overwhelmed with joy”.
“The PM made the remark in the presence of a host of party leaders. His gesture has overwhelmed me and I am thankful to him for encouraging me,” 89-year-old Mr Gaur, considered chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s arch rival, told the media here on Friday.
Mr Gaur last fortnight stirred up a hornet’s nest when he attended a book release ceremony organised by the Congress here.
He had also heaped praise on Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath for ensuring all development of the latter’s parliamentary constituency of Chhindwara, causing discomfiture in the BJP here.
He was dismissed from the state ministry along with another septuagenarian BJP leader Sartaz Singh in 2016 for having crossed the age of 75, thus facing the prospect of denial of party ticket in the year-end assembly elections.
“The PM’s remarks have sent a clear message to the state leadership not to overlook Mr Gaur in the affairs of the party ahead of year-end assembly elections. The development has caused discomfiture in the loyalists’ camp and sent a note of optimism in the dissident camp”, a senior BJP leader here said requesting anonymity.
Incidentally, Union minister Uma Bharti, another dissident leader, had shared the platform with the chief minister after a long time on the occasion.
Ms Bharti who belonged to other backward community of Lodha, later told reporters that she was “personally” requested by the chief minister to attend the PM’s programme.