The BJP's Central Election Committee meeting on Saturday is reported to have witnessed discord between senior leaders, even as the leadership maintained there were no disagreements and no discussion on issues that are contentious.
According to informed sources senior leader Sushma Swarajexpressed her concern at the meeting about the party warming up to Sriramulu’s BSR Congress. Ms. Swaraj had earlier tweeted that she has taken up the issue of “tainted” leaders joining the BJP with the party brass.
Sources said Ms. Swaraj who flew to Bhopal straight from the CEC meet, was upset over the inclusion of parties and leaders without a consensus within the party.
Senior party leader M.M. Joshi who has been drawn into a controversy over his candidature from Varanasi is also reported to have expressed his displeasure at the CEC. The sources, said Dr. Joshi who has been unwilling to vacate the Varansi seat for the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi asked the high command to clarify the status of his constituency.
Dr. Joshi, a sitting MP from Varanasi is being considered for a ticket from Kanpur as party cadres are keen to have Mr. Modi contest from Varanasi. He is reported to have asked party chief Rajnath Singh to clarify whether or not Mr. Modi will be contesting from Varanasi.
The party however refuted the feud reports, Senior party leader Ananth Kumar briefing the media said, Ms. Swaraj and Dr. Joshi left the meeting because the former had to attend a meeting in Bhopal, while the latter had return to his “karya kshetra” (constituency). He did not specify which constituency Dr. Joshi was returning to.
Later, Ms. Swaraj tweeted: “Going to Bhopal for important party meetings there.” Tweets indicating fissures within the party from social activist and Modi-supporter Madhu Kishwar have put the spotlight on the BJP. Ms. Kishwar on Friday sent out a series of tweets accusing Ms. Swaraj and Arun Jaitley of trying to “sabotage” Mr. Modi’s chances at being Prime Minister.
“BJP leaders not part of 160 Club-say Mr. Modi committing monumental blunder in taking no interest in ticket allocation to ensure good candidates.... Jaitley & Sushma along with other members of 160 club have made sure candidates not announced till last moment— no sign of election campaign,” Ms. Kishwar tweeted.