NEW DELHI: BJP today announced it will hold its National Executive meeting on May 24 and 25 in Mumbai but is undecided on the much-awaited National Council meet which would decide whether party president Nitin Gadkari gets an extension or a new term in office.
As per the BJP constitution, only a National Council comprising around 2,500 office-holders from across the country can make amendments to the party rules and decide on crucial issues like giving another extension or a new term to the party president.
Party sources said that for the last few months that RSS is keen that Gadkari, who completes his three-year tenure in December this year, be asked to continue in office till 2014 when the next Lok Sabha elections are due.
However, there have been minor hiccups of late with some decisions taken by Gadkari going wrong. This includes the induction of Babu Singh Kushwaha, a tainted former minister in Mayawati-led government in Uttar Pradesh, into the party and support to an NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra in his attempt to get into the Rajya Sabha.
Some party leaders are also said to be unhappy about Gadkari's decision to send Ajay Sancheti, a businessman close to him, who was allegedly favoured in some mining contracts in Chhattisgarh, to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
Moreover, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is not on talking terms with Gadkari and reportedly does not favour an extension to him.
It is not clear whether Modi will attend the conclave in Mumbai on May 24 and 25, party sources said. A meeting of BJP office-bearers will be held on May 11 in Delhi to chalk out the issues for the national executive.
RSS and the section close to Gadkari is keen that he gets an extension before Gujarat assembly elections due in December as once these polls are over Modi would start focussing on national politics.
Modi has not made any attempt to hide his ambition of playing a larger role which extends beyond Gujarat. He is widely seen as the next Prime Ministerial hope of BJP.
His antagonism towards Gadkari is a cause of worry for both Sangh founthead RSS and BJP. RSS has been in talks with Modi in the past few weeks to sort out these differences.
The National Executive is likely to discuss BJP's strategy of taking on Congress in coming months. Alleged corruption in the UPA government and the state of the economy would be the main planks of BJP, sources said.
BJP's fight against corruption, which had got a shot in the arm after fresh informations in Bofors scam, has been blunted by the conviction of its former president Bangaru Laxman in a bribery case.
The party wants to paint this as an "entrapment" of Laxman in the sting operation and sharpen its attack against UPA on issues like 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society scams, among others.
BJP will also hit out at Congress on issues like price rise, lower grading of Indian business outlook by Standard and Poor's and other problems plaguing the economy.
Terrorism, India-Pakistan relations and other issues are also likely to be discussed at the conclave.
But internal dissensions and squabbling, including in Karnataka where B S Yeddyurappa has been demanding his reinstatement as Chief Minister, are likely to overshadow all other issues at the national executive.