BJP leaders unhappy over Modi skipping meet


New Delhi: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) publicly defended Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his absence from its national executive meet here Saturday, a party source said some senior leaders were not happy with his decision.

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As the national executive meet ended here, the source said several senior leaders were unhappy with Modi’s decision to skip the meeting, which had left the party embarrassed.

Party leaders were seen grappling for excuses to explain away the Gujarat leader’s absence Friday. Senior leaders like Sushma Swaraj and M. Venkaiah Naidu refused to comment while the official explanation later given was that Modi was observing the ‘Navratra’ fast.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, talking to media persons, denied Modi’s absence indicated any rifts within the party.

“There is no issue between Advani and Modi. The party should work in unity. Those who spoke, made this point and rightly so. Seeing it in any other context will be wrong,” he said.

According to sources, Modi skipped the meet after being upset over Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being chosen to flag-off senior leader L.K. Advani’s anti-corruption ‘yatra’.

The ‘yatra’ was the main issue for discussion during this meet.

The controversial Gujarat leader was recently pitched as a likely contender for the prime minister’s post in the 2014 general elections, in a US Congressional report.

The two-day national executive meet began in the national capital Friday. While Advani’s ‘yatra’ was in the main focus, other issues that figured at discussions were land transfer agreement between India and Bangladesh, and the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.