“I won’t quit BJP and will remain an active member of the party,” said Sanjay Joshi, the recent casualty at the hands of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Thursday — the first day of BJP’s national conclave in Mumbai — started on a controversial note, where RSS strongman Joshi had to put in his papers as a national executive member, all thanks to Modi.
According to party leaders, the Gujarat CM’s agreeing to attend the meet was based on the condition that Joshi be ousted. Driven by his own compulsions, party president Nitin Gadkari obliged Modi. Soon Joshi was out and Modi was making his way in at the YB Chavan Centre. The reward from Modi for Gadkari came soon as the latter got a second term for the president’s post without a hiccup.
Since then Joshi — considered a close aide of Gadkari — has kept his distance from the media and even supporters. However, on Sunday afternoon, MiD DAY caught up with a reluctant Joshi at party worker Manobhaw Tripathi’s home at Andheri (East), where he has been residing for the past few days. Joshi refused to say much, except reiterating the fact that he has no plans of quitting BJP.
Here to stay
The statement means Modi’s bête noire has no intentions of returning to the Sangh fold and will stay with the political wing that’s BJP. A senior RSS leader on condition of anonymity said, “The bone of contention between Joshi and Modi is their respective political aspirations and the ambitions of both leaders who started their political careers at the same time and from the same state.”
Both Modi and Joshi previously worked as pracharak of RSS and in the late ’80s were deputed as general secretary and secretary respectively of Gujarat. However, after the win of BJP in the mid-90s in Gujarat, Modi was deported to Delhi and Joshi was promoted as general secretary. However, after a short stay in the Capital, Modi wanted to revisit Gujarat, but Joshi didn’t let it happen. Supporters say Modi would have become the chief minister of the state long ago, but for Joshi. This is one of the main reasons why Modi can never forgive Joshi, analysts say. “Had Joshi not been a hurdle for Modi in 1998-99, Modi would have already served three full terms as CM and would have been the undisputed PM candidate of the party. Because of Joshi, Modi had to wait three more years before he could return to Gujarat from Delhi,” said a BJP source.
According to people close to Joshi, he is enjoying the sudden limelight and focus that he has got because of the controversy. “He has been a strong organisational leader, there’s no doubt to it. But after the CD issue (in 2005, a sex CD allegedly involving him had appeared in the media), he had somewhat gone underground. However, because of the recent controversy, along with Modi, Joshi has also shot to fame. Joshi even got the sympathy of the party cadre. Some senior leaders from Maharashtra (Joshi belongs to Nagpur) personally came to bid him goodbye before he left for Delhi on Sunday evening,” said a senior leader who didn’t wish to be named.
Twists and turns
Joshi, according to sources, is also troubled by the fact that BJP’s strongest leader, its ‘PM-in-waiting’, sees him as a personal threat. However, party sources also said that after what Modi did with Joshi it seems difficult for the former to lead NDA with such an inflated ego. A party leader said, “After the resignation of Joshi he was flooded with calls from all senior leaders trying to soothe him. Many of them also said that this is a temporary arrangement and soon Joshi would be designated at a higher post in BJP.” Joshi and Modi’s erstwhile friendship had taken such a bad turn that the Member of Parliament from Gujarat at whose place Joshi used to stay was not even given a ticket for a second term. While Joshi himself had told party leaders that he doesn’t want to be the reason for any conflict in the party and hence had decided to resign, there’s also speculation that Joshi is unofficially now heading the anti-Modi camp in BJP.
BJP Mumbai’s website hacked
Visitors to BJP Mumbai’s website (mumbaibjp.org) yesterday were greeted with a plea asking students to come and protest on June 9 against the central government. Reason, the Indian wing of international hacker group Anonymous hacked the website. The group also hacked the BJP’s website that has a list of their MPs and other details. Mumbai BJP president Raj Purohit said, “We are a political party and this is a serious breach. Our website holds information on the recently held national executive meet and other correspondence. I shall see to it that action is taken.” Anonymous has in the past hacked various international websites including most notably the CIA website.
— Berges Malu