M A I N   N E W S

Modi prevails as Joshi quits BJP
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, June 8
There was a fresh twist to the ongoing war within the BJP as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had his way once again by forcing his bitter critic Sanjay Joshi to resign from the party.

In a dramatic development today, Joshi wrote to BJP president Nitin Gadkari stating that he wished to leave the BJP as he was under tremendous pressure from Modi. Gadkari, who is known to be close to Joshi, had little choice but to accept his resignation.

This was subsequently confirmed by BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. “Sanjay Joshi has written to Nitin Gadkari to relieve him from the party,” he told mediapersons but refused to give reasons for this sudden turn of events.

Joshi’s resignation from the party comes two weeks after the RSS and BJP President Nitin Gadkari yielded to Modi’s demand to ease out the RSS ‘pracharak’ from the national executive as a condition for his participation in the party’s Mumbai conclave last month.

BJP sources disclosed that the BJP leadership and the RSS took the decision to “withdraw” Joshi from the party as it wanted to put an end to this internal bickering which was showing no signs of abating.

It was stated that when Joshi was asked to step down from the national executive in Mumbai, it was also suggested that he should keep a low profile and refrain from participating in any party work. Joshi, however, remained defiant. Modi was furious when Joshi decided to travel from Mumbai to Delhi by train and asked his supporters to organise felicitation programmes en route in Gujarat. An angry Modi had then insisted that Joshi cancel these plans and travel by air.

Joshi then followed it up by planning a trip to Lucknow to meet party workers for the upcoming local elections in Uttar Pradesh. But the final straw came when a rash of posters appeared both in Ahmedabad and Delhi praising Joshi and targeting Modi. This was not appreciated by the BJP leadership or the RSS which then decided to sacrifice Joshi in order to buy peace in the party.

However, Joshi’s departure has not gone down well with the rank and file as it seen as yet another sign of BJP wilting under Modi’s pressure. Although a low-profile worker, Joshi is well networked within the party and has a substantial following among the cadres who could hit back in the coming days. The first dissenting voice came today from Bihar where BJP leader and deputy chief minister Sushil Modi hit out at Modi, stating that no one person should be allowed to hijack the party and that the party was bigger than the individual. He also said that the manner in which Joshi was pushed out was not right.

Party insiders maintain the RSS and the BJP are conceding to Modi’s demands as they do not want the bickering to cast a shadow on the upcoming Gujarat Assembly poll as it is imperative for Modi to come back with a thumping majority.

This would instantly make him an obvious choice for the Prime Minister’s post. More importantly, the Sangh does not want to alienate Modi at this juncture as the process for Gadkari’s formal election is yet to be completed. 

Fissures to fore

n Party sources say Modi was annoyed over the fact that even after Joshi's resignation from the National Executive in Mumbai, BJP and RSS mouthpieces as well as anonymous hoardings were rooting for the latter and hitting out at the Gujarat CM.

n Modi mounted pressure on Gadkari and the party top brass and finally had his way

n Joshi is now likely to be confined to RSS work and will be kept out of BJP affairs





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