Advani, Sushma to skip BJP rally

Mumbai: Despite a new found bonhomie between Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari, differences in BJP seem to be far from over at its National Executive meeting here today with leaders L K Advani and Sushama Swaraj set to stay away from a rally scheduled for this evening.

"Advani`s schedule was fixed earlier so he won`t be there and Swaraj has to attend a programme in Ghaziabad tomorrow morning," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said downplaying their absence at the rally which has been organised to project BJP as a vibrant party leading the NDA, which is ready to take on the UPA.

Modi and Gadkari are set to be the star speakers at the rally with a senior leader remarking that their bonhomie has upset other senior leaders, including Advani and Swaraj.

With Gadkari smoking the peace pipe with Modi yesterday, the equations in the BJP appear to be undergoing a change and leaders are considering the way ahead in the changed scenario.

The absence of Advani and Swaraj at the rally is also being seen in this backdrop.

With the NDA expecting to get a boost due to the recent developments, including the petroleum price hike, a section of the party claims that Gadkari and Modi could jointly call the shots against their interest.

Interestingly, Advani was not present yesterday at the National Executive when the resolution to amend the party constitution to allow a second term to Gadkari was passed.

Party leaders said that the BJP veteran had gone to meet an ailing relative in the city. Gadkari had yesterday appealed for unity and discipline in the organisation.