Mumbai: BJP leaders and rivals Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari will share the stage on Friday on day two of the BJP national executive in Mumbai. In a show of strength vis-a-vis the party President, the Gujarat Chief Minister on Thursday forced the resignation of his critic Sanjay Joshi from BJP national executive, as an apparent price for his participation in the meet.
The Modi issue dominated the first day's session of the two-day national executive ahead of which Joshi resigned paving the way for the Gujarat Chief Minister's attendance.
Party president Gadkari had said that Joshi resigned "in the larger interest of the party".
Gadkari, who worked behind the scenes to get Joshi's resignation, later announced the end of a "small controversy" and declared he and the Gujarat strongman will work together to strengthen the party, setting the stage for deliberations at the national executive.
Gadkari said that with the end of this row, he and Modi will work "shoulder to shoulder".
The BJP chief also praised Joshi for showing "large heart" in resigning from the executive in the interest of the organisation to "end" any controversy.
There were apprehensions that the absence of Modi could cast a shadow over the meet which is expected to pave the way for a second three-year for Gadkari as BJP chief.
Modi had stayed away from the last meeting of the national executive held in Delhi in September in 2011, apparently peeved at the induction of Joshi into Uttar Pradesh election campaign by Gadkari. He also did not campaign in the UP assembly polls.
Meanwhile, the man who was credited with single-handedly bringing the BJP to power in Karnataka, former state Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has decided to attend the party's meet afterall. This on a day when a Bangalore court will be deciding on his anticipatory bail plea.
"Nitin Gadkari has been nominated as the national president for the second time, so it is my duty to congratulate Nitin Gadkari on behalf of the people of Karnataka. I have great respect for Gadkari, he stood by me like a rock. I am on my way to Mumbai. I am not going to raise any issue, but Ananth Kumar should realise his mistakes. National leaders will take a decision at an appropriate time," said Yeddyurappa on Friday morning before leaving for Mumbai.
Yeddyurappa and his family are accused in an illegal mining case. Their homes and properties across Karnataka were raided by the CBI last week. "I could not attend the BJP National Executive meet due to some cases filed against me in Lokayukta court. If possible I will go tomorrow," said Yeddyurappa.
Showering praises on Modi for good governance, Yeddyurappa on Thursday said the ongoing party national executive at Mumbai should deliberate on promoting him as Prime Ministerial candidate, among other issues. "The national executive should deliberate on the issues rocking Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan and promote Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate," Yeddyurappa said.
"According to a survey, Modi is the most popular leader of the country and the party must think on these lines and take decisions," said Yeddyurapa, who had recently pushed the first BJP government in the South into a crisis of survival.
"Modi is popular because he has done great work in Gujarat and made the state number one in the country," he said.
The Lingayat strongman, however, said Modi could not be compared to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and veteran BJP leader LK Advani.
With Additional Inputs from PTI