Both Modi and Joshi had started their political career together in Gujarat. In the late 1980s, Joshi had gone to Ahmedabad from the Maharashtra wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to join the BJP. In 1990, Modi became the general secretary of the Gujarat BJP while Joshi was made the secretary. The duo worked together for five years and their efforts culminated into BJP's coming to power in the state for the first time. That was 1995.
However, things turned for the worse when a revolt by Shankarsinh Vaghela saw Modi being sidelined and Joshi emerging as the general secretary, organisation, of the state BJP. “We had won the state elections in Gujarat handsomely in 1995 and 1998 even when Modi was nowhere near the picture,” said sources.
1998 marked the beginning of the enmity between Modi and Joshi. It is said that the latter deliberately opposed Modi's efforts to return into the scheme of things. The state politics had gone through various ups and downs, finally resulting in Keshubhai Patel, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, tendering his resignation in October 2001. It was a golden opportunity for Modi who replaced Patel as the Chief Minister. Joshi, meanwhile, was sent to Delhi and made the party's general secretary, organisation.
In 2005, Joshi, who was known for his organisational skills and considered a man of morality, got involved into a sleaze CD scandal, which had marred the BJP's silver jubilee celebrations that year. Joshi was forced to resign and later, after an inquiry revealed that the CD was doctored, Joshi loyalists accused the Modi camp of masterminding the dirty game to malign his reputation. Needless to say, the incident added to the rivalry.
The hatred seemed to have not dried down even six years after the incident, when BJP President Nitin Gadkari asked Joshi last year to lead the campaign for the UP assembly polls. This angered the Gujarat CM and he besides boycotting the party's national executive held in Delhi last December, also refused to campaign in UP.
Joshi's resignation on Thursday would have surely given some relief to Modi for according to party insiders, “Modi feels threatened that Joshi, if reinstated, will emerge as a challenge to his national ambitions.”
Modi's stern attitude towards Joshi's removal, thus, gives a clear message to Gadkari and anybody who does not endorse him in the party.