The Gujarat CM has been at loggerheads with party president Nitin Gadkari
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has put the Bharatiya Janata Party in an embarrassing situation by refusing to indicate the dates on which he will be available for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election campaign.
Mr. Modi, billed in the past as a star campaigner of the party, has shown clear signs of defiance by keeping off the election campaign in Uttarakhand and Punjab despite repeated requests.
The Chief Minister is at loggerheads with BJP president Nitin Gadkari over his decision to re-induct his archrival Sanjay Joshi into the party.
According to party sources, the leadership did not expect Mr. Modi to be so openly defiant given his own ambitions for a bigger role in the party as well as at the national level.
“We fail to understand the political logic in the approach of Mr. Modi. Whatever be his differences with the party president, the message he is sending out is that he is above the party. A leader with bigger ambitions cannot afford such an attitude,” a BJP leader said.
The sources said Mr. Gadkari was unperturbed by Mr. Modi's attitude and had not made any effort to reach out to the Chief Minister. The BJP president is believed to have left it to party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is coordinating the campaign of various party leaders in U.P., to deal with Mr. Modi.
According to some BJP leaders in Gujarat, Mr. Modi is peeved at what he perceives to be a ‘high-handed' approach on the part of Mr. Gadkari. They said he expected the party leadership to involve him in the decision-making process.
These leaders say the Chief Minister was reportedly asked to campaign in Assembly segments where the party's chances are bleak.