Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Nitin Gadkari ended their eight-month long stand-off after nerve-racking backroom parleys on the eve of party's national executive in Mumbai last month.
Gadkari had, with a heavy heart, agreed to Modi's insistence that he keep away Sanjay Joshi, a former BJP functionary, from the party's executive body.
Before the truce — BJP insiders believe — both leaders were almost ready to relinquish their positions and intermediaries had to work behind the scenes to help them reach a pact.
But, articles and editorials in the BJP and RSS mouthpieces on the episode and posters in Ahmedabad and Delhi on Tuesday batting for Joshi, hitting out at Modi (without naming him) may unsettle the truce, fear BJP insiders. The posters were removed but left behind several unanswered questions, despite party’s efforts to play it down.
Gadkari, as several in BJP leaders, felt that Modi's insistence on keeping out Joshi, with whom he had problems in Gujarat 17 years ago, was "not fair". But the BJP chief accepted Modi's terms and, as sources close to him put it, he did not wish to stand in the way of the party utilising the services of a "charismatic" leader ahead of 2014 just because BJP leaders were caught in a never-ending ego battle.
Accordingly, Joshi "resigned" from the BJP's executive body. Later, the arrival of Modi and Gadkari together at the BJP's Mumbai rally on May 25 boosted the morale of cadre, who wanted the stand-off over the role of Joshi to be put behind them, party sources said.
But, within the RSS and BJP, the terms of Modi-Gadkari truce did upset an influential section that felt that Gujarat's strongman had got away with his "dictatorial" ways, BJP sources said.
Modi's targeting of Joshi won the latter the sympathy of Modi's detractors in Gujarat. These included ex-CM Keshubhai Patel, Suresh Mehta and Kanshiram Rana and Gordhan Zadafia. So, when their supporters wanted to organise receptions for Joshi in the state, but he was told to stay out of the state.