The seven expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, whose chances of returning to the party fold were said to be dependent on the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi making a statement in this regard at the Jammu rally on Sunday, may not get respite that soon.
The process is being observed as a long and three-dimensional one, especially with Modi's lack of comment on the issue.
On one hand, if sources are to be believed, former party heavyweight and leader of the expelled MLAs Chaman Lal Gupta wants his son Anil Gupta back in the party; on the other, the state unit has no problem with the return of five MLAs other than Gupta and Bashohli MLA Jagdhish Sapolia; while the national high command has expressed no concern over whether all seven return or not.
Sources close to the expelled seven, however, say Chaman Lal Gupta has put his foot down and said he will not return to the party unless his son Anil Gupta and his party Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Front (JKDF) are merged with the BJP.
In developments that started taking place some two months prior to Modi's rally, a team deputed by the national high command and the state cadre were engaged in one-on-one contact with the seven expelled about their wish to rejoin the party.
Everybody, including Chaman Lal Gupta, had given their consent for rejoining, but with the rider that Anil and his party members also be roped in, sources said.
This brought the entire exercise to a standstill midway, as Satish Sharma, in-charge of All State Morchas; Chander Prakash Ganga, BJP vice-president; and an important RSS member were deputed to conduct this exercise.
One of the team members who met the MLAs, while talking to Hindustan Times, denied any such allegations against Chaman Lal Gupta, saying that their meeting was held to exchange ideas for their homecoming and Gupta never talked about his son's entry in the party.
Just 10 days before Modi's arrival in Jammu, another attempt was mooted by the national high command through JK prabhari and Punjab MP Avinash Rai Khanna to seek one-on-one contact with the expelled MLAs, who, sources say, held a detailed discussion with the MLAs separately and got positive feedback regarding their rejoining the party.
"We held a couple of meetings with Chaman Lal Gupta and expressed our desire to rejoin the party unconditionally. We have asked him to decide what to do," said one of the expelled MLAs, pleading anonymity. He added that though they had not talked to each other openly in this regard, they were all open to rejoining the party.
He also admitted that their ouster from BJP was "denting their political yearnings".
According to the rumour mill, while the national high command has not closed the file, as was said by BJP national president Rajnath Singh in his last media interaction here, leaving the onus on the state party, the state unit is juggling with issues like Chaman's keenness for his son to join the party. The party "bigwigs" do not want Chaman's "élan to overtake their party position" in the upcoming parliamentary and state assembly elections.
As for Jagdish Sapolia, he is alleged to have played an instrumental role in the formation of the JKDF, besides supporting three JKDF youths who had created ruckus in the assembly last year by jumping into the well over the issue of high unemployment rate in the state.
Mamta Singh, former party president Nirmal Singh's wife, is believed to be contesting in his place from Bashohli in state assembly elections