The Narendra Modi-Sanjay Joshi rivalry has surfaced again to haunt the BJP. On Tuesday, hoardings and posters praising Joshi mysteriously appeared at BJP headquarters in Delhi and Ahmedabad.
Though the posters were removed within hours and the state BJP leaders played down the incident, it was obviously part of the ongoing skirmish between the two sides. The posters did not refer to Modi directly. They blamed Joshi’s exit (from the BJP national executive) on the stubbornness of “one leader” and accused him of bullying the party leadership.
The posters carried Joshi’s photograph and some lines written by party patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee: "Chhote man se koi bada nahi hota… (nobody becomes great with a narrow mind)".
The tagline was "Kaho dil se... Sanjay Joshi phir se (From the bottom of your heart, call for Sanjay Joshi again)".
“I am not aware who put up those posters,” said BJP media in-charge in Gujarat Jagdish Bhavsar. In Delhi, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "These were not authorised banners and posters of the party, so I do not have to say anything about them."
Modi had attended last month’s BJP national executive in Mumbai only after the party agreed to his demand to pull out Joshi.
After the meet, Joshi was scheduled to travel by Paschim Express from Mumbai to Delhi via Gujarat. His supporters had planned to felicitate him at railway stations in Surat and Vadodara. But irked, Modi reportedly forced him to fly to Lucknow from Mumbai.
Following Joshi’s resignation from the national executive, Modi was criticised for his high-handed approach in both BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh and RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya.
The rivalry between the leaders date back to the late-1990s, and was a fallout of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel’s rivalry with Modi.
(With inputs from PTI)