BJP brainstorms on way forward, Modi absent
The official version given by the party is that the Gujarat CM is caught up in the busy schedule related to the Navaratra festival.
New Delhi: After alleging that there were
dissensions in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s Cabinet, BJP
today found itself in the same predicament with its senior
leaders Narendra Modi, BS Yeddyurappa and Ramesh Pokhriyal
keeping away from the party`s national executive meet here.
The Gujarat Chief Minister did not turn up at the
conclave here despite BJP president Nitin Gadkari stating
yesterday that the party is trying to convince him to attend.
Very few would buy the argument that Modi is fasting for
Navratra and hence unable to participate.
He has kept away as he is unhappy with senior leader LK Advani`s Jan Chetna Yatra for good governance and clean
politics, sources said. He had reportedly told Advani that the
yatra is "un-necessary and irrelevant".
Modi, who is said to be gearing up to become BJP`s
Prime Ministerial candidate in the next polls, sees Advani`s
yatra as the latter`s attempt to be in the fray.
Modi`s disagreement led Advani to shift the starting
point of his yatra to Sitabdiara in Bihar.
BJP top brass tried to downplay Modi`s absence. "It is
not true that Modi is unhappy. He fasts during Navratra and so
is not attending the national executive," BJP Chief
spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Modi is also sulking due to the re-induction of his
political adversary Sanjay Joshi into the party fold. Though
Joshi has been brought in informally and his profile is
low-key in comparison to his earlier role as General Secretary
(Organisation), this has not gone down well with Modi.
To add to the woes of the Advani camp, some leaders
have even said Modi would make "the best Prime Minister in the
history of the country".
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj, who is believed to be
close to the Gujarat Chief Minister, said "If he (Modi) gets a
chance, he will prove to be the best prime minister in the
history of the country." Punj is BJP incharge of Gujarat.
Asked if Modi or Advani would become a better Prime
Minister, Punj said, "I do not know this. I will not make any
comparisons. That the people of the nation will decide."
Prasad also described Modi as "very capable and
competent Chief Minister who is praised not only in India but
abroad as well".
Asked who would be BJP`s prime ministerial candidate,
Prasad took an apparent dig at Congress General Secretary
Rahul Gandhi, saying, "We have a galaxy of leaders. We are not
dependent on one Yuvaraj (crown prince)."
Yeddyurappa, who had grudgingly stepped down from the
post of Karnataka Chief Minister recently after the Lokayukta
indicted him in a land allotment case, has also kept away from
While the official reasons cited for his absence are
by-elections in Karnataka and his wife`s death anniversary
today, sources said he is unhappy with his removal and his
weakening hold on the state government.
Ex-Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, who has
been replaced by BC Khanduri after increasing cases of
corruption in his government, was also absent today. His
unhappiness may harm BJP in the forthcoming Assembly polls.
However, BJP maintained there is no dissension within.
"Infighting is there in the Congress and not in our
party," senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, while BJP
spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain insisted "there is no clash".