New Delhi : Anonymous posters slamming Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and a small support base building around Sanjay Joshi finally forced BJP chief Nitin Gadkari to force Modi's archrival out on Friday.
Modi's indispensability ahead of the 2014 polls occupied so much of the party leadership's mindspace that Joshi's request for relieving him of "party work" resulted in Gadkari happily relieving him from the party.
Joshi, who had quit the BJP national executive before the Mumbai conclave as part of a Modi-Gadkari peace deal on May 23, wrote to the BJP chief, asking to be relieved of his responsibility of looking after the party's Uttar Pradesh unit.
But the party said Friday: "Sanjay Joshi has requested BJP president Nitin Gadkari to relieve him from the party and his request has been accepted."
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "This is so clear in itself that you also understand this."
Gadkari apparently did not want to risk the uneasy truce with Modi. The CM had earlier insisted he'd attend the Mumbai conclave only if Joshi was kept out of the BJP organisation.
BJP insiders said the hoardings rooting for Joshi and hitting out at Modi earlier this week were the "last straw". Also, Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi's interview to a newspaper backing Joshi was a major factor.
Sources said Modi was miffed that even after quitting the national executive, Joshi continued to look after the UP unit, which wasn't part of the Modi-Gadkari deal. The attack on Modi by the BJP and RSS mouthpieces added to the tension.
Meanwhile, new posters sprang up in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, where the Gujarat BJP's state executive meeting begins Saturday. They flayed Modi and praised Joshi. The posters read: "Perform Rajdharma, Prajadharma and party dharma."