BJP president Nitin Gadkari has expressed displeasure over party MP Varun Gandhi's remark that the BJP had 55 chief ministerial candidates in Uttar Pradesh.
Asked about the statement by journalists at the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC), Gadkari did not mince words: "It was wrong. He has later clarified. But there is concern in the party about such statements. I have tried to put a stop to these things and to a certain extent it has reduced…."
Asked if the party was planning to take any action against Gandhi, he simply said, "The party has taken cognizance of it."
Gadkari was all praise for Uma Bharti and Sanjay Joshi for the work they were doing in Uttar Pradesh: "Sanjay Joshi's role has been good. Uma Bharti's induction has also benefited."
Asked about Narendra Modi not having campaigned in UP, he repeated his line that Modi was busy in Gujarat.
BJP chief may get extension Gadkari may see his three-year term - slated to end about December 2012 - extended, with party leaders claiming in hushed tones that the decision is as good as taken.
While speculation that the RSS wants his term extended has been rife - extending the BJP president's term from three to five years had also been discussed when Rajnath Singh was president - many see the coming poll results in five states as a litmus test for Gadkari.
However, BJP insiders now say the tentative decision is likely to stay irrespective of the party's performance in the coming polls.
"When an outsider to the national stage was made president and has kept the flock together, what's the point replacing him when he's finding his feet," said a BJP national leader.
"Whatever be the result on March 6, there can be no denying that under him the BJP has been able to fight as a coherent unit, which shows he has succeeded in his role."