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May 24, 2012 at 12:40pm IST

Modi to attend the BJP national executive meet

New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the BJP national executive meet after he spoke to the party president Nitin Gadkari on Thursday. Modi got his way once again as he forced the resignation of arch rival and critic Sanjay Joshi from the BJP national executive in exchange for his presence at the party meet.

A vociferous Modi detractor, Joshi's exit saved the BJP the embarrassment of Modi skipping the party meet.

Party chief Nitin Gadkari said that Modi will attend the conclave and Joshi resigned in the larger party interest.

"Joshi, who was invitee member of the National Executive, has in a letter to party president Nitin Gadkari said that he is relinquishing his post in the larger interest of the party," BJP sources said hours before the inauguration of the two-day conclave.

Reports had suggested that instead of travelling to Mumbai from Ahmedabad, Modi might visit Udaipur, where a local organisation is preparing for a function in the honour of the Gujarat CM.

As per official programme, Modi will be in Udaipur in Rajasthan today to attend the birth centenary celebrations of Maharana Pratap and will be returning to Ahmedabad. As per his associates in Gandhinagar, Modi could make it to Mumbai on Friday in view of the development.

Modi had been upset with party president Nitin Gadkari after he had reinstated Sanjay Joshi in the party and made him the in-charge of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Joshi had to quit his post in 2005 after his purported sex CD hit headlines.

Modi had not turned up to campaign in Uttar Pradesh, even as Gadkari was keen that he did. He even skipped the last party conclave in Delhi held in December last year. Since then the Gujarat Chief Minister and Gadkari have not been in the best of terms but with the BJP preparing to pass a resolution in the executive meeting, Gadkari has chances to get another term as the party president.

The Executive meeting is significant as it would be the first major gathering of the BJP top brass ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the two party-ruled states, scheduled by the year-end.

The move by Gadkari is significant as the shadow of Modi could have hung over the conclave as speculation had mounted over the Gujarat strongman's absence amid no official word from Gandhinagar.

Modi had also not attended the last meeting of the National Executive held in Delhi in December apparently peeved over the induction of Joshi into Uttar Pradesh election campaign by Gadkari.

The talk in BJP circles is that Modi had threatened to resign from the National Executive if Joshi was retained in the body where he is an invitee member.

Gadkari did not want to give any handle for Modi to stay away from the Mumbai meet, which is expected to pass a resolution seeking a change in BJP constitution giving a consecutive three year term to the party chief, sources said.

After a gap of six years, Joshi, who has been a former party general secretary, was asked by Gadkari to assist the party in the UP assembly polls.

In 2005, he was forced to resign following a controversy over a CD purportedly showing him in poor light. This decision had not gone down well with Modi who has never seen Joshi eye-to-eye.

Modi had all these years stiffly resisted moves to bring back Joshi, who was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak' nominee in the party in the position of general secretary (organisation).

With Additional Inputs from PTI