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Updated: November 18, 2011 02:32 IST

Gadkari–Modi divide widens into yawning political chasm

Neena Vyas
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STRAINED RELATIONS: In this file picture, BJP president Nitin Gadkari greets Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during the party National Council meeting in Indore. Photo: A. M. Faruqui
The Hindu STRAINED RELATIONS: In this file picture, BJP president Nitin Gadkari greets Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during the party National Council meeting in Indore. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

BJP president does not want Modi to campaign in U.P Assembly polls

Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari has told party leaders that there may be no need for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to campaign in the high-stake Assembly elections due next year in Uttar Pradesh, BJP sources told The Hindu.

During consultations with them, Mr. Gadkari has been arguing that Mr. Modi's rallies in the past did little to benefit the party electorally outside Gujarat — a move that could widen the political divide between the two main leaders into a yawning political chasm.

The immediate provocation for the current standoff was Mr. Gadkari's decision in August to re-induct the former general secretary, Sanjay Joshi, as coordinator for the party's Uttar Pradesh election preparations. This has led to friction between him and Mr. Modi, who is against Mr. Joshi. Some party leaders said Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Modi had not even talked to each other on the phone for several months.

The rivalry between Mr. Modi and Mr. Joshi goes back to several decades. When Mr. Joshi was BJP general secretary in Gujarat during the chief ministership of Keshubhai Patel, Mr. Modi was shifted to the Delhi headquarters as general secretary and “ordered” not to step into the State. Later, when Mr. Modi was sent to the State as Chief Minister, Mr. Joshi was brought to Delhi and told not to interfere in the party affairs in Gujarat.

At the national executive committee meeting in Mumbai in 2005, a sleazy compact disc surfaced, featuring Mr. Joshi, who, however, maintained that his face had been “morphed” into the CD. Anyhow, that ended his career in the BJP.

Some in the party suspected Mr. Modi's hand in the affair, as Gujarat police inspector B.K. Chaubey has since reportedly told the CBI that he had carried the CDs for being distributed among BJP leaders in Mumbai at the instance of the the former Director-General of Police, Vanzara, who is now under arrest in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. Mr. Vanzara was suspected to have acted at the behest of Amit Shah, former Gujarat Home Minister, who himself is under arrest.

Following Mr. Joshi's re-induction for party work, Mr. Modi absented himself from the national executive committee meeting held in Delhi in September, leaving Mr. Gadkari furious. The reason offered by the Chief Minister — he does not travel outside Gujarat during the Navratri festival ahead of Dussehra — cut no ice with the party leadership

In the Bihar Assembly elections a year ago, it was Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had curtly told his ally, BJP, that he would not countenance Mr. Modi campaigning in his State. Mr. Kumar had made the public stand in Patna in the midst of a BJP national executive committee meeting, a few months ahead of the elections.

Though the BJP tried to wriggle out of the embarrassment, it finally succumbed. Mr. Modi did not campaign in Bihar. At that time, Mr. Gadkari unsuccessfully tried to convince Mr. Kumar of the need for allowing the BJP to bring Mr. Modi to Bihar for the campaign. Ironically, now the tables have turned, with Mr. Gadkari apparently not keen on Mr. Modi campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Gadkari has denied that he has prime ministerial ambitions, but there are several signs that he could be preparing to offer himself as a candidate to a divided party. Among other things, he has undergone a weight-control surgery, made efforts to appear more telegenic and started nursing potential Lok Sabha constituencies in Wardha and Nagpur.

Mr. Modi is also expected to try and jump onto the national stage after the 2012 Assembly polls in Gujarat. At his recent Sadbhawna Mission, he undertook a makeover as the new ‘development man.' Plenty of skull-cap wearing Muslim youths were present at the event to showcase his new “secular” credentials.

Of course, both have denied nursing prime ministerial ambition.

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This article is mostly based on speculation and actual news content is very small. I understand this is what media do in general, but thought "The Hindu" was different.

from:  Sahil
Posted on: Nov 19, 2011 at 05:28 IST

As mentioned by Justice Katju, media has bigger role to play in the society. Modi, Prime Ministerial candidate? I am worried of more blood. We need peace, no more blood.

from:  Wish to be unidentified.
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 12:59 IST

I needn't say more. It's really not expected of The Hindu. There are many who swear by the word of the newspaper. You have a status. Please make sure that you don't let yourselves down by insensible and irresponsible reporting.

from:  Praveen Bandaru
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 11:58 IST

The recall value of Mr. Modi's face is significantly higher with the electorate all over India but no body can easily recall Mr. Gadkari's face. By assigning the co-ordination work of UP Assembly election to Mr. Sanjay Joshi - who is out of active politics for nearly 6 years - BJP President is displaying great immaturity. If Mr. Modi is not made a central campaigner in UP elections, the chances of BJP garnering more seats goes up in smoke. Instead of setting the matter in right perspective on political objectives, the machinations of the BJP President seem to promote dissent which ultimately might snowball on the party's performance as a whole. A serious course correction is need of the hour.

from:  LS Ullal
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 11:19 IST

I am amazed at the manner in which you get these scoops. Has Mr. Gadkari or Mr. Modi or any of their sources confirmed this? Why are you creating a divide where there is none. Today the entire country is talking about a Chidambaram and Pranab rivalry that is paralyzing Governance. Has your paper bothered to even cover that? If there is a paucity of news items then please do not create one. Why do you speculate on things you do not need to? This is not only paid news but also irresponsible news.Rather than talking about who has PM ambitions in the Opposition please speak about the real slugfest in the ruling alliance rather than take to wild speculation.

from:  YR
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 11:08 IST

It is hard to distinguish if she is reporting news or her personal opinion here. There is a lot of conjecture and very little news that is either new or thoughtful. Going through all her articles for the past 14 months, I see a definite pattern of BJP bashing, it is not good for Hindu or for journalism to taint the canvas of truth with bias. My Grandfather would feel a lot poorer knowing the level of reporting in Hindu these days.

from:  Somaz Skander
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 09:08 IST

Like wise, debate the primeministerial ambitions of Congress party candidates, probably, you cannot, given the state of affairs there. BJP is more democratic party unlike congress which shoud be nourished rather than commented upon negatively to divide them.

from:  Bala
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 08:38 IST

Sir, I would like to mention specially at the end of the article it said:' Plenty of skull-cap wearing Muslim youths were present at the event to showcase his new 'secular' credentials. This might be Modi's another trick as he have been doing things like wink and a nod and as per your article the CD's that went to BJP higher ups could be at the behest of Mr. Modi and in the same way he can bring youths from any where and distribute the skull caps and have a photo session to show his support.

from:  Rizzi
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 07:18 IST

Neena Vyas's prying eyes always finds the internal problems of the BJP;but one has not seen any report on any type of internal problems in the Congress party. If she doesn't reveal the source of her information,discerning readers would take what she says in the report as mere gossip.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 06:18 IST

I was on the previous page (list of articles) and just reading the title I thought this must be Neena Vyas (NV). NV writings seem to have just one point agenda - bash BJP. It is not clear as to how a prestigious national newspaper like The Hindu could have reporters as these who are just too biased. While we need to hear both the good and bad, having a reporter as this who will only report negative things about a particular entity rises suspicion of her larger agenda. I'm sure the venerable Hindu will do the needful to make amends in this regard.

from:  Sankar
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 04:49 IST

There is no dearth for Prime Ministerial candidates , BJPs Lal Krishna Advani, Nitin Gatkari and Narendra Modi , besides the frozen horses viz, Mayawati , Nitish Kumar and Jayalalithaa but the Prime Minister Post is not vacant. Before the General Elections more and more aspirants for the post may emerge , who knows Annaji may be pushed by his TEAM to fight the electoral battle . Congress is the only party which has a young Candidate with a clean slate,dedication to bring the youth to politics to serve the aam admi and uplift them. Indian voter is the best judge and their thinking across the length and breadth of the country will be in the same wave length and always bear the overall National interest in their mind while giving their Verdict. Who ever may be their choice it should be a verdict giving at least simple majority and not in favour of a coalition of two many parties.

from:  N.Thirunavukkarasu
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 04:25 IST

Interesting! Though the identity of the BJP sources are revealed, it looks quite credible.

from:  Sri
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 02:57 IST

How has The Hindu come to the conclusion that there is a rift between Modi and Gadkari on the basis of Gadkari's decision to keep Modi off UP campaigning? In the first place, Modi has his own campaigning to do in Gujarat which is also going to polls the same year. Furthermore, as BJP's potential star campaigner for the 2014 general elections, Gadkari may be keen not to blot Modi's copybook with a failure in UP, where the BJP may not be expecting to come to power. I think your reporting is prejudiced.

from:  Venugopal Kaikulath
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 02:33 IST

Is there one Political leader in India today - who is willing and cheerful enough to travel across all Indian states; accept all people as his own irrespective of caste, religion, language and colour and get accepted by them. I find none. We need such National leaders in all Political Parties.

from:  v.vijayamohan
Posted on: Nov 18, 2011 at 01:01 IST
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