Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel refused to accept a ticket for his son to contest the assembly polls following a row with his successor Narendra Modi, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader told rediff.com on Tuesday.
Patel and Modi had acrimonious exchanges as the latter had succeeded in persuading the BJP central election committee to give his followers the lion's share of seats, he said on condition of anonymity.
"He [Patel] warned the party high command that since Modi and his followers find more representation in the list of candidates, he will not be responsible [for the party's electoral performance]," he said.
Patel feels that if the party wins in Gujarat, Modi would again become chief minister at his expense, he said, adding that is why the former CM is washing his hands off the whole thing.
As a conciliatory gesture, the party high command offered a ticket to his son, but he angrily turned it down, the party leader said.
The BJP leader pointed out that Patel is a Rajya Sabha member and some party leaders have started extending the olive branch to him so that they can utilise his resources to get the party a "thumping victory at the hustings".
The name of Patel's son is expected to figure in the second list.
The meeting of the party's central election committee, in which the first list was finalised, was supposed to be held on November 16. But Modi persuaded the high command to postpone the meeting to November 18 so that he could attend it, he added.
Such apparent factionalism in the BJP's Gujarat unit raises questions over a survey that predicted a majority for the party in the polls.
But BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ridiculed such suggestions and said, "We are going to the polls in a united manner."
Naqvi said, "Rumours are being spread by our political rival [the Congress] about factionalism in our Gujarat unit. It indicates that they are going to receiving a drubbing by us in the polls."
However, party sources said Patel, a veteran leader, is capable of inflicting considerable damage.
Keeping this in mind, the high command will try to woo the estranged leader, who cannot accept the fact that Modi has got the better of him, the sources said.
Reports from Gujarat indicate that Patel's followers are awaiting a signal from their leader so that they can give Modi and the BJP some food for thought.
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report