Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was conspicuous by his absence from the BJP's two-day national executive meeting, which began here on Friday.
Ousted chief ministers BS Yeddyurappa (Karnataka) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand) - who are believed to be sulking after their removal in the wake of allegations of corruption against their governments - also skipped the meeting.
Modi's absence was attributed to his displeasure over senior leader LK Advani's perceived efforts to project himself as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and the party's ambivalence on the issue.
But party leaders sought to play down the Gujarat chief minister's decision to remain in Ahmedabad.
"That Modi is angry is not true. During Navaratras he fasts, prays, and does not venture out of Gujarat," said chief party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Prasad said Modi was a capable candidate for the post of prime minister but the BJP would mull over the issue later.
The BJP's pointsperson for Gujarat, Balbir Punj, told reporters that Modi would prove to be the best prime minister in India's history if given a chance.
As for the two ousted chief ministers, Nishank arrived in Delhi on the same flight from Dehradun as his successor BC Khanduri but chose to stay away from the meeting.
On Yeddyurappa's absence, Prasad said, "He is busy with by-polls and in performing a ceremony for his late wife."
Party president Nitin Gadkari attacked the government on the issue of corruption while senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha spoke on inflation.
Sources said the party asked Uma Bharti and Sanjay Joshi to be present for discussions on Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.