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Top BJP leaders meet Modi, Keshubhai
A K Diwanji in Mumbai |
June 24, 2004 11:56 IST
Last Updated: June 24, 2004 14:36 IST
Top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his archrival Keshubhai Patel on the sidelines of the three-day national executive committee meeting in Mumbai on Thursday.
Modi called on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had claimed that Modi's mishandling of the Gujarat riots had cost the party dear in the Lok Sabha election, for a breakfast meeting to discuss the situation in the state.
Modi was scheduled to depart from Mumbai for Ahmedabad on Wednesday but was told to stay back by Leader of the Opposition and senior BJP leader Lal Kishenchand Advani, who also met him in the morning.
Party president M Venkaiah Naidu was present at the Advani-Modi meeting.
Patel said he had telephoned Vajpayee and told him about the problems in the state unit of the BJP.
Advani and Naidu also met Patel to discuss the situation in Gujarat where a number of legislators have raised the banner of revolt against Modi and his style of governance. These legislators, who have gathered under the leadership of Modi's predecessor Patel and have accused Modi of arrogance and an inability to command support, are demanding that he be replaced as soon as possible.
But outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh insist that Modi should remain CM.
According to sources, Modi and Patel also spoke to each other over the telephone on Wednesday night. Both are residing at the Renaissance Hotel in suburban Mumbai, where the conclave is going on.
When Patel was asked whether Modi would be replaced, he said it was difficult to reply at this juncture, but added that it was a matter of time and the party's top brass would decide on the matter.
With Vajpayee, Advani, and Naidu -- the top three leaders in the BJP today -- meeting Modi and Patel, observers believe that it is likely Modi will be replaced, later if not sooner.