The Bharatiya Janata Party, after consultations with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had decided long ago not to give a ticket to Haren Pandya, archrival of caretaker Chief Minister Narendra Modi, to fight the December 12 polls in Gujarat, a senior BJP leader said on Tuesday.
"[Senior party leader from Gujarat] Keshubhai Patel should not have challenged Narendra Modi, who replaced him as chief minister. Modi was the unanimous choice of our leadership and supported by the RSS. Therefore, there was no question of Modi bowing down to Patel," he told rediff.com on condition of anonymity.
"Haren Pandya is Patel's understudy. So when he tangled with Modi on his mentor's behalf, the acting chief minister made it a prestige issue. The BJP-RSS leadership went along with Modi on denying Pandya a ticket because they wanted to teach Patel an appropriate lesson," he said.
They wanted to make it clear that no one could make unrealistic demands and take the high command for granted, he said.
Asked why RSS leader and in-charge of BJP affairs, Madan Das Devi, visited Ahmedabad to mediate between the two groups, he said, "It was all stage-managed. We don't want to send wrong message [to the public]. Some appearances [in politics] have to be kept up."
He said since the BJP-RSS leadership had thrown its weight behind Modi, Patel, at least for the time being, would have to eat a humble pie. Also, Pandya would most likely accept a central post, which he had earlier declined at Patel's behest, he added.
He said the BJP-RSS leadership did not think that Patel and his followers would go against the high command's decision.
The Election in Gujarat: The Full Coverage
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