Mumbai, June 27: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today met top leadars of the Maharashtra BJP to discuss strategy for next Lok Sabha elections. But former party president Nitin Gadkari was conspicuous by his absence.
This is Mr Modi's first visit to the state after being appointed the BJP's election campaign committee chief.
It was a closed door meeting attended by leaders like Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is the party's general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, spokesperson Prakash Javadekar and senior state leader Gopinath Munde. But Mr Gadkari, who is one of the most prominent faces of the party in Maharsahtra was absent.
The BJP explained that a visa interview at the Norway Consulate in Mumbai had held up Mr Gadkari, who will tour that country beginning this weekend.
Mr Modi and Mr Gadkari did not enjoy the best of relations when the latter was party chief. The Gujarat Chief skipped at least two important national executive meetings during his tenure and refused to campaign for the party in the UP elections last year as he was miffed with Mr Gadkari re-inducting his arch rival Sanjay Joshi into the party.
Before Mr Modi was controversially appointed to head the party's campaign committee, senior BJP leader LK Advani had suggested that Mr Gadkari be given the post instead. Mr Gadkari, however, refused.
With inpits from PTI