Top BJP leaders in Maharashtra said, “The denial of a second term to Gadkari was handiwork of senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, who did not adequately consult Mohan Bhagwat.”
It is learnt party leaders are in a huddle in Mumbai since morning to iron out differences.
There is simmering discontent in RSS and a suitable replacement for Soni is being sought to send across a strong message to the cadre that the RSS chief is the final authority. However, sources said, Soni did hold talks with RSS general secretary Bhaiya Joshi.
“Bhagwat had given his final approval to Gadkari. If they wanted to change the decision, they should have deferred presidential elections by a month,” state leaders said.
Nobody in BJP is willing to come on record, but core committee discussions raised serious concern about the increasing differences in RSS.
A senior state BJP and RSS leader said, “The state unit is not worried about Gadkari. We have no problem accepting Rajnath Singh as party president. What has unsettled the cadre is the episode exposed differences within RSS.”
The Nagpur headquartered RSS has always taken pride in its organisational abilities and clarity in decision-making. The wish of the RSS chief is command for the cadre. The state BJP unit, which was confident of Gadkari, was taken aback by the eleventh-hour change.
When the decision to drop Gadkari was conveyed, Bhagwat was in Panvel. The development at the Centre was Soni holding talks with Joshi.
Those in BJP who demanded the party president decision be deferred to facilitate more consultations were ignored by the central leadership.
RSS leaders hurt by the defiance of Bhagwat by the second rung want Soni replaced. Officially, RSS is underplaying the episode. It is trying to project the developments as an internal matter of BJP.
Vaidya wrote on his blog, “It was a section of BJP that plotted to deny Gadkari a second term as party president.
“When BJP amended party constitution to allow a second term to Gadkari, a section did not like the decision. They did not openly oppose but started working against Gadkari.”