BJP's new-gen leaders succumb to Modi's clout
A growing dominance of Narendra Modi within the Bharatiya Janata Party and his popularity outside the party have forced the BJP's new-generation leadership to rally behind the Gujarat chief minister. In fact, the top brass is mulling over the possibility of giving him the charge of the 'campaign and selection committee' for next year's Lok Sabha election.
True, Nitin Gadkari has seldom enjoyed cordial relation with Modi, but the two have for now buried the past. Of late, the BJP president is going all out to make the 61-year-old leader happy.
Gadkari has the support of all the new-generation leaders -- Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh besides Modi. Even so, his candidature for a second term as the BJP's president is being fiercely opposed by the party's old guard, primarily led by L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj.
At last month's national executive of the party in Mumbai, the three leaders had made clear their opposition to giving Gadkari another term as the party chief.
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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Opposition to Gadkari has brought together old foes
Also, at a lunch meeting on June 5 at his residence, M M Joshi openly told Suresh Joshi (Bhaiyaji Joshi), the second most powerful man in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, that Gadkari should not be made party president for a second time. Even Advani was "completely against" the move, he added. In fact, their opposition to Gadkari has brought together Advani and Joshi, otherwise considered to be old foes.
A senior BJP leader says that his is going through a generational change. "It isn't without taking into consideration the opposition from Advani and Joshi that the party went ahead with considering giving Gadkari a second term (as the BJP president)," he told Business Standard.
"It is important that new-generation leaders like Rajnath Singh, Jaitley and Modi do not oppose the move. That is why Gadakri has agreed to yield to demands of Modi and remove (RSS leader) Sanjay Joshi from the party."
Image: BJP president Nitin Gadkari
'Advani, MM Joshi trying to scuttle Modi's Delhi plan'
Also, the new-generation leaders are trying to assert themselves even more -- and want a greater role for Modi at the Centre soon after the Gujarat assembly election this year-end.
"Advani and (M M) Joshi are trying to scuttle the plan," the BJP leader said. "To stop them from achieving their target, Modi had met (senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader) Ashok Singhal during his recent visit to Delhi and urged him to explain to Joshi not to oppose Gadkari's candidature."
By supporting Gadkari's second term, Modi is "only returning the favour" of the BJP president who removed the Gujarat chief minister bitter rival Sanjay Joshi from the party.
The RSS leadership, which is also in favour of the ongoing generational change in the BJP, is trying to let the new generation from taking control of the party. The Sangh is also in the process of explaining Advani and M M Joshi not to contest election in the next Lok Sabha election.
"RSS wants Advani and Joshi to play the role of a father figure in the party, and not contest election. So far, though, the two leaders have not agreed to the plan," the BJP leader said. RSS, he added, was also "upset" with Advani for being "too vocal" and criticising the party in his blogs. "It had tried to tell him that he should not write the blogs, but Advani refused the demand."
Image: Senior BJP leader L K Advani