With skirmishes continuing with bete noire Sanjay Joshi despite forcing him out of BJP national executive,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today prevailed over top brass to show him the door as far his duties in the party were concerned.
“Sanjay Joshi has requested BJP President Nitin Gadkari to relieve him from the party and his request has been accepted by the party president,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
Asked what prompted this sudden decision,the spokesperson was evasive and only reiterated the statement.
“It is very clear that Joshi requested that he should be relieved from the party and the party president has accepted it. This is so clear in itself and you also understand this,” he said.
However,sources close to Joshi insisted that he had only asked that he be relieved from all party work and had not relinquished his primary membership of the BJP.
Well-placed sources said Modi was miffed that even after Joshi’s resignation from the National Executive,he continued to create trouble with BJP and RSS mouthpieces as well as anonymous hoardings rooting for him and hitting out at the Gujarat Chief Minister.
“Modi had put pressure on Gadkari and the top brass after realising that Joshi is actively working for BJP for the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh local bodies elections. He was further annoyed by the posters and hoardings that were put up in Ahmedabad and at BJP headquarters,” a party leader said.
Joshi is now likely to be confined to RSS work and will be kept out of BJP affairs.
This is the second instance when Gadkari has bowed to Modi’s demand against Joshi. The Gujarat Chief Minister had earlier insisted that he will attend the conclave in Mumbai only if Joshi resigns from the National Executive. Gadkari,who wanted to project that the BJP leadership is united,asked Joshi to resign on May 24.
Gadkari is now not likely to face any opposition from Modi for his second term as party president.
The on-going spat between the supporters of Modi and Joshi were a cause of worry for both the BJP and the RSS as the Gujarat Assembly elections are just a few months away.
This new development comes as a shot in the arm for Modi as he did not want his detractor Joshi to have any role in the party.
The BJP and RSS have been divided on the manner in which Joshi had to resign from the National Executive as Modi put this as a condition for him to attend the Mumbai conclave.
Since then,the BJP and RSS mouthpieces have written for or against the two leaders.
While BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh and RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya hit out at Modi,another RSS mouthpiece Organiser said Modi is the party’s best bet for Prime Ministership.
The matter did not end there as posters appeared in Ahmedabad and at BJP headquarters here batting for Joshi and attacking Modi. Some posters were put up today also in Ahmedabad in Joshi’s support.
The rivalry between Modi and Joshi goes back a long way. When a sleaze CD purportedly featuring Joshi surfaced in 2005,he had to resign from the post of BJP General Secretary (Organisation). It was then alleged that Modi was behind the whole CD episode. Later,Gadkari brought Joshi back into the party but Modi had his way again.
BJP rift widens as Sanjay Joshi posters target Narendra Modi
Just a couple of days ago,the rift between the warring BJP chieftains had been ramped up massively. In another instance of the escalating fight between Sanjay Joshi and his bete noire Narendra Modi,posters batting for the former BJP general secretary and hitting out at the Gujarat Chief Minister appeared in Delhi and in Ahmedabad.
Though the BJP leadership played down the incident and denied that there was any rift in the party,the fact that this was part of the serious ongoing skirmishes between the supporters of the two leaders was not lost on anybody.
After Joshi had to resign unceremoniously from the BJP National Executive at the Mumbai conclave as Modi had put this as a precondition for his participation in the meet,articles and editorials in BJP and RSS mouthpieces have appeared either castigating or praising them.
The hoardings and posters,put up in Ahmedabad and at the party headquarters here with Joshi’s pictures,said,”Chote man se koi bada nahi hota,tute man se koi bada nahi hota (nobody becomes big with a narrow mind)”.
It went on to say “Kaho dil se… Sanjay Joshi phir se (Say with your heart,Sanjay Joshi once again)”.
Modi was the obvious target here,though his name was not written anywhere on the posters.
Asked about this,BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said,”These were not authorised banners and posters of the party,so I do not have to say anything about them.”
This is not the first case of differences between Joshi and Modi coming out in the open. On June 1,BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh had hit out at Modi without naming him.
A day later,RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya also targeted Modi,saying there were several other leaders within the BJP who have the potential to be Prime Minister. But another RSS mouthpiece Organiser praised Modi.
Predictably,BJP said much should not be read into the articles written in Kamal Sandesh,Panchajanya and Organiser.
“What has appeared in Panchajanya and Organiser are only the personal views of the author and not of the organisation (RSS). RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav has already clarified this and I as a Swayamsewak of the RSS and Chief spokesperson of BJP am saying this,” Prasad said.
When it was pointed out that Kamal Sandesh had expressed the anti-Modi views in its editorial,Prasad said editor of the BJP mouthpiece Prabhat Jha has cleared the air on the issue. Jha had said on June 1 that the editorial only maintains that organisation is supreme and everybody should work unitedly.
Party insiders said RSS and BJP are both divided on this issue with a section supporting Modi and another standing by Joshi.
The main concern,however,is that this infighting-which is not likely to cease anytime soon- may have an impact on the party’s fortunes in the Gujarat Assembly elections,due in December this year.