New Delhi: Hours after Narendra Modi's critic Sanjay Joshi resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) citing pressure from the Gujarat Chief Minister, sources said that the former party leader is likely to be rehabilitated by the RSS as the general secretary of its affiliate unit, Bharatiya Itihaas Parishad.
It was a day of high drama in the BJP on Friday with cracks getting deeper and Narendra Modi having his way as his biggest critic Sanjay Joshi wrote to party president Nitin Gadkari, asking him to be relieved from the party post as there was tremendous pressure from the Gujarat Chief Minister.
Following this, the BJP president accepted his resignation.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar confirmed that Joshi had quit from the party and that Gadkari has accepted his resignation. "Sanjay Joshi has requested Nitin Gadkari to relieve him from the party. His request has been accepted," Prakash Javadekar said on Friday. The BJP, however, remained silent on the reasons for his resignation.
Reacting to Joshi's resignation from the party post, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi denied any rift in the party and said Joshi wasn't asked to quit. "Sanjay Joshi was never asked to resign, he might have given the resignation on his own. People join a political party, leave and then join back. These things do happen in political parties. This is normal in democracy," Lekhi said.
Joshi was removed from the BJP national executive in May on Modi's demand. Joshi's resignation comes even as there was opposition within the party over his removal from the BJP national executive.
BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi in an indirect attack on Modi said no one person should try to hijack the party and that the party was bigger than the individual.
Referring to Joshi's unceremonious sacking under pressure from Narendra Modi, Sushil Modi told the Economic Times newspaper that the way Joshi was dropped was not right. He said no one should force a decision or an opinion.
Sushil Modi said the incident had not gone down well with the RSS. He praised Gadkari, but said he should not succumb to pressure from any individual.
This comes at a time when posters criticising Modi and supporting Joshi has come to the fore. The new posters carry the BJP's logo and read 'Perform Rajdharma, Prajadharma and partydharma'.
Meanwhile, another set of banners praising Joshi have also come up in Rajkot, where a meeting of the BJP state executive will take place over the weekend.
Pamphlets have also been distributed in Ghoghamba in Panchmahal district, where a picture of Modi has been morphed by replacing his face with that of Keshubhai Patel, who is holding a rally there on Sunday.
Last week, some posters were on display outside the BJP office in Delhi and Ahmedabad in support of Joshi against whom Modi has openly expressed displeasure.
The posters quoted a poem by senior BJP leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and interestingly, have the BJP symbol. But it isn't clear yet as to who put up the posters.
Joshi was asked to resign from the BJP national executive after Modi demanded it, in exchange of his presence at the BJP meet in Mumbai.
A vociferous Modi detractor, Joshi's resignation was the price the Gujarat Chief Minister extracted from BJP President Nitin Gadkari to attend the meet in Mumbai.
Both the BJP and RSS have been divided on the manner in which Joshi had to resign from the National Executive as Modi put this as a condition for him to attend the Mumbai conclave.
Since then, the BJP and RSS mouthpieces have written for or against the two leaders. While BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh and RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya hit out at Modi, another RSS mouthpiece Organiser spoke in Modi's favour.
The matter did not end there as posters appeared in Ahmedabad and at the BJP headquarters here batting for Joshi and attacking Modi. Some posters were put up today also in Ahmedabad in support of Joshi.
Joshi is now likely to work as an RSS worker and give up the responsibilities entrusted to him by the BJP, sources said. Joshi was handling the BJP's election programme for the forthcoming local bodies polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi had been upset with Gadkari after he had reinstated 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 were not in the best of terms.
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)