If you were out and about in the city on Sunday, chances are you came across RSS leader Sanjay Joshi’s impassive face at least once. And no one in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is smiling either.
In fact, party leaders have absolved themselves of any responsibility on the matter of the posters in support of Joshi that mushroomed here on July 8. Understandable, as the banners indirectly took potshots at BJP’s perceived redeemer Narendra Modi. Some party leaders even claimed the episode was the handiwork of Congress or some other rival political faction. A poster read: “A person who doesn’t respect his parents doesn’t go too high. BJP is our mother and Sangh is our father. Sanjay Joshi, only you will succeed.” The concluding sentence read: “Ek baar phir se Sanjay Joshi dil se.”
It has been alleged that Modi forced his friend-turned-foe Joshi to resign from the party’s national executive in May this year and from BJP’s primary membership a month later.
‘We didn’t do it’
Niranjan Shetty, spokesperson for BJP Mumbai said, “The posters that were put up are the work of rival political parties, who want to cash in on the popular belief that Joshiji is being sidelined, which is untrue. These people can put such hoardings across the city, but no part of this is true and there are no differences within the party. Such people can’t break BJP.”
While no party worker is ready to come on record to speak candidly on the hoardings, a senior party functionary, on condition of anonymity, said, “There are many Joshi supporters, who are unhappy with the way he was asked to quit. This is the work of such people. Joshi appeals to a lot of people irrespective of regional biases. There are many Gujaratis and even Marathis who support him. At times in Delhi, there is a longer queue of people waiting outside the house of Sanjay Joshi than party president Nitin Gadkari’s.”
Incidentally, poster wars between Joshi and Modi, orchestrated by yet unidentified persons, have been reported in the recent past from Gujarat, UP, Rajasthan and Delhi.