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Another rebel takes on Modi
August 17, 2007 19:51 IST
Rebellion mounted against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday as the Bharatiya Janata Party veteran Suresh Mehta declared he would not fight elections under the leadership of the saffron party's Hindutva icon. Elections are due in Gujarat later this year.
"I can't comment about others. But it is my personal decision that I will not fight the next election under his (Modi's) leadership," Mehta, who is on a visit to Delhi, said.
Mehta, who earlier this month met party chief Rajnath Singh, indicated there was little scope left for a patch-up with the chief minister. "I am not here (in Delhi) for talks," he said.
His comments followed Modi's meeting with his election strategist Arun Jaitley during which, party sources said, the chief minister called for disciplining rebels.
"There has been no reconciliation move," he said when asked about the central leadership's talks with rebel leaders.
Former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, Mehta and Kashiram Ram Rana reportedly has a large support base in BJP MLAs opposed to Modi.
The BJP, which stood staunchly beside Modi, downplayed Mehta's defiance, saying Singh and Jaitley would hold talks with the rebel leaders in Gujarat.
"The BJP leadership does not feel there is any need to replace Modi," senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said and stressed that he would lead the party in the next elections.