They rebelled against him and called him a Hitler, hoping to help the Congress defeat him. Now that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has emerged victorious, rebels in his party face difficult times.
Ahead of the election results on Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) belatedly issued show-cause notices to former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who spearheaded the rebel camp, and former central minister Kashiram Rana.
BJP MPs Vallabhbhai Kathiriya and Somabhai Patel were suspended from the primary membership of the party.
Another former chief minister, Suresh Mehta, had resigned from the party just ahead of the polling, while half a dozen legislators including Dhirubhai Gajera, the most vocal of them all, had contested as Congress candidates.
Although Keshubhai Patel did not go all out against Modi, he refused to campaign for him.
The Sardar Patel Utkarsh Samiti, a motley group of dissidents floated by his followers, released newspaper advertisements urging people to "vote for change".
Determined to oust the chief minister, the rebels issued advertisements on the day of the second phase of polling on December 16, showing Modi performing a religious ritual while wearing shoes and senior party leader LK Advani wearing a skull cap, identified with the Muslim community.
All that has come a cropper. Keshbhai Patel, who did not cast his vote, remained closeted at his home in Rajkot.