Is Modi too powerful? Why did Sanjay Joshi step down?
Ahmedabad: This may seem like a rather naïve question to pose, but there is more to the answer than what might be obvious. Politicos’ most apparent speculation of course is that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi arm-twisted the national leadership and they had to buckle under pressure. And how did he do that?
The primary explanation being floated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is that Joshi did not perform well in Uttar Pradesh elections earlier this year, so he has taken moral responsibility. But one theory doing the rounds is that Modi threatened he would step down as the chief minister and take a back seat in the coming elections. Stung with the rebellion of BS Yeddyurappa, BJP anticipates losing Karnataka, as despite his corruption, Yeddyurappa is considered a leader who can get votes - quite like Modi. The last thing they want now is to lose Gujarat.
The other speculation floating around, espoused by former BJP leader Gordhan Zadaphia, is that Mr Moneybags Modi has threatened to squeeze the party on funding. It is an open secret of sorts that Yeddyurappa and Modi are almost at par in flushing the funds when needed. For a party in Opposition for a long time, funding is always an area of concern. Zadaphia, who floated his own party five years ago after a dramatic exit from BJP, pulls no punches.
“Joshi was practically forced to step down. It is unfortunate that such a sincere party worker for long has been treated this way,” he said.
A source in the BJP in Gujarat says, “Despite holding up for Joshi initially, we suspect that Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley finally relented. Sushma Swaraj is believed to be ambivalent. LK Advani is the dark horse. Modi is a leader who cannot be ignored and guarantees votes - certainly in Gujarat.”
The closure, however, for this Gujarat leader is, “This development only reiterates what we have felt for a long time - there is no BJP in Gujarat sans Modi. It is sad.”
One more theory circulated by sources claims that Rajya Sabha MP Parshottam Rupala went to BJP’s agenda meeting on Wednesday night and gave a letter to BJP President Nitin Gadkari stating that not a single Gujarati will attend the executive meeting till Joshi steps down. It was after this that the national leadership confronted Joshi that they had no choice but to ask him to step down.