The differences in BJP today burst out in the open with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi forcing the resignation of his known detractor Sanjay Joshi from the party's national executive.
Joshi resigned ahead of the party national executive meeting that began here in a move seen as an effort by party President Nitin Gadkari to buy peace with Modi.
Joshi, who was a special invitee to the national executive, has in a letter to Gadkari said he is relinquishing his post in "larger interest" of the party. Gadkari, who had brought Joshi back into the executive, announced the end of a "small controversy".
Gadkari said with the end of this row, he and Modi will work "shoulder to shoulder" to strengthen the organisation in the changed political scenario setting the stage for deliberations in the 2-day executive.
With Joshi's exit from the national executive, Modi reached Mumbai from Udaipur to attend the meeting. The BJP chief also praised Joshi for showing "large heart" in resigning from the executive in the interest of the organisation to "end" any controversy.
There were apprehensions that the absence of Modi could cast a shadow over the meet paved the way for a second three-year for Gadkari as BJP chief.
Modi had stayed away from the last meeting of the national executive held in Delhi in September last year. apparently peeved at the induction of Joshi into Uttar Pradesh election campaign by Gadkari. He also did not campaign in the UP assembly polls.
The national executive meeting is significant as it is the first major gathering of BJP top brass ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the two party-ruled states, scheduled by the year-end. The development came on a day when Gadkari, in his opening remarks at the national executive, spoke of the need for discipline in the party.
Despite Joshi's resignation, the focus remained on internal churnings in BJP and Gadkari's stress on unity and discipline in BJP, while addressing the national executive, gave fodder to the media to shoot uncomfortable questions, including whether Modi was the target during the briefing of the party national executive.