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Keshubhai attends BJP meeting
Amberish K Diwanji in Mumbai | June 23, 2004 12:54 IST
Last Updated: June 23, 2004 15:08 IST
Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who had not attended the inaugural session of the three-day Bharatiya Janata Party national executive meeting in Mumbai, on Wednesday flew in from Ahmedabad to be at the conclave the remaining two days.
According to sources, Patel, who had complained of pain in the knee as reason for his inability to come, changed his mind.
He took the 1230 IST flight from Ahmedabad.
Incidentally, according to news reports, Gujarat Chief Minister and Patel's bete noir Narendra Modi will depart from Mumbai to tackle the dissidents in Gujarat who are meeting in the evening to chalk out their plans.
And though BJP officials insist that Gujarat will not be discussed except as part of the overall discussion of all states, Patel's arrival indicates that things might be different now.
According to the source, Patel's arrival means that Modi continuing as CM would be discussed, something that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been pushing for.
On the first day, the agenda was set by party president M Venkaiah Naidu, who spoke about collective responsibility and urged his party members not to target individuals for the BJP's failure in the general election. But on Wednesday, it is Vajpayee who is likely to set the tone of the discussions.
The BJP's Gujarat unit is at pains to point out that Modi's removal has nothing to do with Hindutva and everything to do with his abrasive style of functioning.
On Tuesday, Patel said in Ahmedabad that the situation in Gujarat was akin to a "mini-Emergency", harking back to the days of the 1975 Emergency when civil liberties were severely curtailed.
A large section of the ministers and legislators of Gujarat are unhappy with Modi, who runs a one-man show and is considered immensely arrogant. They are also point out that Keshubhai Patel, his predecessor, was removed after the BJP lost just one seat in a Lok Sabha by-election, whereas under Modi the party lost seven more seats.
But after Vajpayee suggested that Modi should go, his removal has become a cause celebre between the pro-Hindutva lobby and the moderate lobby within the BJP, and in the bargain, given the CM a reprieve.
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