Modi wins, Joshi quits, BJP downplays conflict (Fourth Lead)
Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) BJP's star chief minister, Narendra Modi of Gujarat, arrived here Thursday to a grand welcome to attend the national executive meet, with his bete noire Sanjay Joshi quitting the panel.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, tried to downplay the apparent rift, restraining from making any comment on the development.
While party president Nitin Gadkari, with whom Modi had been upset, hailed Modi saying they will now work "shoulder to shoulder", BJP's former president Rajnath Singh refused to comment.
Modi, who was earlier not expected to come to Mumbai, arrived around 3.30 p.m. and also extended his stay to attend a rally scheduled for Friday evening.
Joshi offered his resignation around 2 a.m. Thursday, and it was accepted by Gadkari, who was responsible for bringing him back to the party and making him an invitee to the executive.
From that time, Modi kept a distance from Gadkari.
He also boycotted the last national executive in Delhi. The BJP decided now to heal the rift, come what may.
Gadkari announced that Joshi resigned to avoid any conflict in the party. He said Joshi did so on his own.
Asked how Joshi's presence was creating a conflict in the party, national spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad refused to comment.
BJP sources said Modi was "happy" now. The sources, however, added that Gadkari's decision to bow to the Gujarat strongman had not gone down well with others in the party, including L.K. Advani.
The BJP had been facing internal rifts in many states including Rajasthan and Karnataka.
On Thursday, Modi attacked the UPA government for sharply hiking petrol prices.
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