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Posted on Nov 12, 09:38PM | IANS
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is to blame for the campaign against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, RSS ideologue M.G. Vaidya said in stinging remarks Monday.
The unexpected attack on Modi by a senior Sangh Parvar functionary sparked off angry and pro-Modi reactions from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), exposing the tensions in the two organisations.
The Gujarat government too came to Modi's defence.
Gadkari was among the first to react, calling Vaidya's comments unfounded and insisted there was total unity in the BJP.
"The BJP completely rejects such insinuation as it is totally unfounded. All central leaders and its chief ministers have been working cohesively and unitedly," Gadkari said in a statement here.
He rejected Vaidya's attempt to link the anti-Gadkari comments by party MP Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani with Modi.
"The BJP is firmly and unitedly behind Modi and we are confident the party will win decisively in the ensuing (Gujarat) elections," he said.
Gadkari has been under attack for alleged financial impropriety in connection with his business groups.
Mahesh Jethmalani, also a BJP MP, quit the party's national executive last week protesting Gadkari's continuation in office despite the allegations against him.
Vaidya, 87, a Nagpur-based former chief editor of Tarun Bharat, the RSS mouthpiece, said in his blog in Marathi that the roots of the campaign against Gadkari had to be in Gujarat.
Besides seeking Gadkari's resignation, Ram Jethmalani wanted Modi to be declared the party's prime ministerial candidate.
This could be because Modi apprehended that Gadkari could cause hindrance to his (Modi's) ambition to become the prime minister, said Vaidya.
"I do not think Modi has any chance of leading the BJP in the next election," he added.
"L.K. Advani and Gadkari have made it clear they are not in the race for prime minister. However, Modi, who seems to have strong prime ministerial ambitions, has said nothing on this issue," Vaidya pointed out.
Reacting to Vaidya's blog, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said: "It is not the opinion of the Sangh."
BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu added that he knew the RSS mindset and Vaidya's comments were not the RSS view.
Gujarat government spokesman Jay Narayan Vyas added: "Any individual is entitled to any view. The BJP central leadership has declared that it stands by Narendra Modi."
The BJP is considered the political wing of the RSS, India's most influential Hindu organisation. Founded in 1925, the RSS is headquartered in Nagpur.