Anshuman Mishra, the non-resident Indian businessman who unsuccessfully tried to get a Rajya Sabha nomination from Jharkhand, may have played a key role in convincing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [ Images ] to attend last week's Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] national executive in Mumbai [ Images ].
Modi had decided to skip the party meet but later changed his mind after his archrival Sanjay Joshi resigned.
Mishra told rediff.com, "I spoke to Modi and persuaded him to attend the Mumbai conclave."
But party sources have denied Mishra's involvement. "What can we say about his claims; it is for the party leadership to deny. And if such a denial has not come so far them his statements should be taken at face value," said a senior leader of BJP said on Monday.
Mishra is also said to have had a word with influential Gujarati leaders to back BJP president Nitin Gadkari [ Images ] as the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections.
However, he did not comment on Joshi's resignation from the party.
Modi had been upset with Gadkari after he had reinstated Joshi and made him the in-charge of the Uttar Pradesh [ Images ] assembly elections. Joshi had to quit his post in 2005 after his purported sex CD hit headlines.
Modi did not campaign for the UP polls and he even skipped the last party meet in Delhi [ Images ] held in December 2011.
Mishra did not attend the convention, but remained in touch with BJP leaders as well as the media over the phone, one of his close aide said. "I was the first person who informed the media that (former Karnataka [ Images ] chief minister) Yeddyurappaji would attending the second day of the meet," Mishra said.