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Modi, Yeddy no show: BJP starts damage control

Last updated on: September 30, 2011 18:57 IST

Modi, Yeddy's no show: BJP starts damage control

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday downplayed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's absence from its national executive meeting in Delhi.

The national executive meeting began with BJP President Nitin Gadkari's urging party workers to be "ready to shoulder the historic responsibility of fulfilling the national aspiration of freedom from the most corrupt government of independent India."

Incidentally, sulking former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and ousted Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Nishank also gave the executive meeting a miss. But the party leaders insisted that the absence of these senior leaders should not be construed as a sign of in-fighting within the party.

Reportage: A Correspondent in Delhi


Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Photographs: Reuben Varghese/Rediff.com
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BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad refuted reports that Modi was angry with the party's top leadership for staying away from the massive rally organised by him in Ahmedabad last Sunday, as they were wary about projecting him as the party's prime ministerial candidate to the media.

"He is, in fact, the main contender among other leaders for the post, but a final decision will be taken by the party's central parliamentary board," said Prasad.

He added that Gadkari had urged Modi to attend the executive meet, but the BJP president accepted the Gujarat CM's resolve to fast and not leave the state during Navratri.


Image: Former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa

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In a clear reference to the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, Prasad added that the BJP was proud to have so many claimants for the prime minister's post, unlike the other party which had "just one yuvraj (prince)."

He asserted that Modi's absence was not a sign of his defiance, as he had conveyed his inability to attend the executive meeting to the BJP top brass.

Yeddyurappa also excused himself as he was busy with some religious rituals to mark his wife's death anniversary, Prasad said.

Veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi also downplayed reports of in-fighting within the party, asserting, "In-fighting takes place in the Congress, not in our party."


Image: Murli Manohar Joshi

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Party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain also endorsed his stance, saying, "There is no clash of leaders in the BJP."

Modi's absence from the crucial meeting comes in the wake of reports of differences between him and party patriarch L K Advani since the latter decided to launch his yatra against corruption from Bihar instead of Gujarat.

Modi has reportedly even told Advani that the yatra was "unnecessary and irrelevant," a remark that reportedly angered the senior leader so much that he refused to call up Modi to ask him to attend the meet, even when Gadkari sought his help over the matter.

 


Image: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi with L K Advani
Photographs: Reuben Varghese/Rediff.com
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