BJP sought to play down the row over two advertisements involving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, saying it would not allow a “small reason” to lose focus from its primary duty.

“Our (BJP) agenda is to consolidate all those who want to challenge the Congress party for their misgovernance. We are a national party with a lot of resilience. It is our primary duty to work with all non-Congress formations who want the country to be strong. We will see that our national cause will not get deterred by any small reason,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here.

He stressed that the controversial photograph showing Mr. Modi and Mr. Kumar holding hands was “not created” by the Gujarat Chief Minister.

“It is a fact that Mr. Narendra Modi did not create this photograph that appeared. It is not fictitious. It had actually appeared (earlier). It was there,” Mr. Rudy said.

He said the advertisements in newspapers in Bihar were issued by “some social activists” to highlight Mr. Modi’s first visit to the eastern state since 2001.

Asked whether Mr. Modi’s visit could lead to BJP’s confrontation with Mr. Kumar, Mr. Rudy said “this is your perception.

We do not believe so.”

To a question whether Mr. Modi would campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar, Mr. Rudy said it was up to the state unit of the party to request him to do so.

“Going by the kind of response he (Mr. Modi) got at yesterday’s rally, I believe he would be welcome in Bihar,” he said, and pointed out that BJP had 55 members in the Bihar Assembly against 84 of JD(U).

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