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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

Last updated on: May 24, 2012 17:07 IST

Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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Prasanna D Zore in Mumbai

Though Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary and spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad labelled it as a 'non-issue', the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi-baiter Sanjay Joshi from the national executive and BJP president Nitin Gadkari's announcement on Thursday morning that Modi will attend the two-day meet hogged all the limelight, even as Prasad spent three-fourths of the press conference convincing the media that there was no infighting in the party. Prasanna D Zore reports

Sanjay Joshi, who was rehabilitated in the BJP on Gadkari's behest, resigned just a day before the national executive was to meet in Mumbai, cited that he didn't want to be the reason for any controversies for the BJP.

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Image: Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary and spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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It is the timing of the resignation and Gadkari's confirmation that Modi will be attending the meet that set the tongues wagging on Thursday morning.

"It is indeed a non-issue for us," said a BJP leader from Maharashtra even as he blamed the media for side-stepping important issue such as the petrol price hike announced by the government on May 23.

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Image: Senior BJP leader LK Advani arrives at the national executive
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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Earlier in the day, Gadkari told the media that he personally spoke with the Gujarat chief minister and said that the latter will be attending the national executive, putting a lid on days of speculation surrounding the issue.

Ironically, this is being seen as a climb down by the party president who was responsible for Joshi's entry back into the party fold after a sex CD scandal forced Joshi to resign.

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Image: Senior BJP leaders (from left) LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
Tags: BJP , Joshi , Gadkari , Gujarat

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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Addressing the media after the party seniors -- L K Advani, Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley -- ensconced in the Y B Chavan Centre in Mumbai's at Nariman Point -- 'discussed issues of national importance' for over 40 minutes, Prasad said that National Democratic Alliance convener Advani had announced Bharat Bandh on May 31 to protest against the hike in fuel prices.

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Image: Senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Gopinath Munde
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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Launching a scathing attack on how the UPA-II is mismanaging India's economy -- the rupee's downward spiral against the dollar, flight of foreign capital -- and growth, Prasad said, "The UPA-II is in the intensive care now."

"The country needs a better prime minister than Manmohan Singh," he said.

Prasad was quick to add that the BJP had no intention to create political instability, but stressed that the party national executive meet was unanimous in accepting that the BJP should take the lead in expanding the NDA.

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Image: Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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He was alluding to the fact that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is apparently miffed with the UPA for the steep hike, might walk out of the alliance.

Prasad added that the party is taking steps to increase BJP's electoral vote share by 10 per cent. He did not elaborate as to how the party planned to achieve this feat, but said the party will work harder for the poor, backwards, Adivasis, Dalits and the minority.

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Image: BJP president Nitin Gadkari
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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Prasad also stressed that the BJP equates India's growth and progress with the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and the party will approach the Supreme Court after victory in the Lucknow high court.

Prasad said the national party president appealed to the workers that they should keep nation before the party and party before self.

The party has reached a conclusion, Prasad said, "that the Congress is the problem and the BJP the solution".

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Image: (from left) BJP MP Varun Gandhi, Rajya Sabha MP S S Ahluwalia and BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Modi vs Joshi tussle looms over BJP's national meet

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How Modi won, Gadkari lost

A political correspondent adds: According to BJP sources, Anshuman Mishra, the Non-Resident Indian who unsuccessfully tried to get a Rajya Sabha nomination from Jharkhand, lobbied on BJP President Nitin Gadkari's behalf in the latter's political battle with Modi.

Mishra tried hard to strike a deal for Modi's support to Gadkari's claim for a second term as party president.

Mishra called a contact in Ahmedabad -- one of the richest Gujaratis who owns thousands of acres of land and many industries all over Gujarat. This Gujarati businessman bargained for Modi who is the key to his business empire.

As a result of the to-and-fro phone calls, it was decided that the only way Gadkari could buy peace from Modi was if Joshi -- Modi's bitter rival -- resigned from his post and the party.


Image: (From left) Maharashtra BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar with senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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