Mumbai: Nitin Gadkari`s stress on unity and discipline in BJP on Thursday gave fodder to the media to shoot uncomfortable questions, including whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was the target, during the briefing of the party national executive.
BJP national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed journalists about the opening remarks of Gadkari in which he stressed on unity, was confronted with questions like -- "Is the principle of unity and discipline also applicable to party chief ministers?
The mediapersons also wanted to know whether there would be any disciplinary action against Chief Ministers if they failed to do so.
"Why Modi has chosen to announce his decision to go to Mumbai after Sanjay Joshi`s resignation from National executive," a mediaperson asked.
Prasad sought to deflect most of the questions, saying they were general in nature and concerned everybody in the party.
When a reporter persisted that Gadkari`s statement about the "small controversy" between him and Modi has been resolved following Joshi`s resignation, Prasad said it would be "inappropriate" for him to say anything in the matter when the party`s national president has spoken about it.
On a question about Joshi, Prasad said that the former party general secretary had tendered the resignation to Gadkari last night saying that he wanted to avoid any controversy because of him.
Prasad said the resignation has been accepted.
One reporter put the Modi issue more bluntly asking Prasad that "you attack other parties. But see the conditions in your own party".
Prasad responded saying that "we have the resilience to overcome such problems if they are there at all". Taking potshots at the Congress, he said, "BJP is not a family concern where loyalty is most important".
Prasad was also encountered with a question as to how the BJP could hope to extend its reach among minorities when it has a polarising leader like Modi.
"I do not agree with your assessment and perception. Narendra Modi`s governance has shown development consideration for all," the BJP spokesperson said.
Prasad said Modi is expected at the National Executive meeting today, while former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has already made it clear that he would not be coming.
While Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda will not be coming as he recently met with an accident, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is not coming as Shimla Municipal Corporation elections are due there. Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha is currently visiting abroad.