After L K Advani, it is the turn of Murli Manohar Joshi to face the ire of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s supporters who are pressuring the former Union minister to vacate his Varanasi Lok Sabha seat for their leader.
The differences between the two warring camps, which were confined to the walls of party offices, have spilled on to the streets in the form of a poster war after Modi addressed a rally here on Sunday.
Joshi has already made it clear that he is determined to retain the Varanasi seat and that he won’t quit it to make way for anyone. Nor is he willing to accept the Rajya Sabha membership offered to him in return for ceding the seat.
As word spread that the Gujarat Chief Minister was eyeing his seat, Joshi opened half a dozen camps and campaign offices in Varanasi for the Parliamentary election.
What made Joshi and his faction restless was Modi’s right-hand man and Uttar Pradesh incharge Amit Shah’s remarks that the PM-hopeful was likely to contest the polls from the state. Adding to his woes were the banners at the rally that read: “Modi should contest the election from Varanasi, Joshi should sacrifice his seat”
Modi is said to enjoy the backing of the RSS, while Joshi is finding himself isolated within the party. And at least at a dozen other places, senior leaders are in a fight with younger ones get tickets either for themselves or for their sons and daughters.
There are strong indications that party chief Rajnath Singh wants to field his son Pankaj from Gautam Buddh Nagar. Rajnath himself is said to be eyeing Lucknow, giving jitters to party’s sitting MP Lalji Tandon. Senior leaders Ramapati Ram Tripathi and Om Prakash Singh are threatening young leaders to ensure that their sons get tickets, sources said.