Even as the BJP tried to present a united face at its two-day national executive meeting in Mumbai, one of its own leaders has written to party president Nitin Gadkari, criticising the BJP.
Ram Jethmalani, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan on a BJP ticket, has written a strong letter to Mr Gadkari saying, "I presume you are concerned about the sickness of our party which registers no response to even greater sickness of the ruling party (Congress). The nation is not wrong in thinking there are skeletons in BJP's cupboard." (Read the letter
The letter was written a day before the BJP national executive meet began in Mumbai.
"Nation wants feverish action. What does it get instead? Tongue tied leaders busy pulling down one another and creating unmistakable impression that they are suffering from inexplicable inertia and paralysis," Mr Jethmalani says in the letter.
Mr Jethmalani has also attacked the party's silence on presidential candidate. "I am revolted by the incompetence of our leaders," he says.
The letter is yet another setback for Mr Gadkari who tried hard during the meet to bring together all discordant pieces. On Friday, even as the BJP president shared the stage with Narendra Modi, senior leader LK Advani skipped the key rally at the end of the two-day meeting making conspicuous the reports of his opposition to a second term as party president to Mr Gadkari. Sushma Swaraj too gave the rally a miss.
The BJP played down their absence saying both had prior engagements. Ms Swaraj also tweeted, "I respect and honour all decisions of the Party. Please do not draw any other conclusions...I must reach Delhi tonight because I have to leave early morning for an important party function in UP tomorrow."
Mr Gadkari, with the staunch support of the RSS, was assured of a second term on Thursday when the party amended its rules and passed a resolution to that effect. Mr Advani, though in Mumbai for the meet, was not present when a party core group passed that resolution. The BJP said he was visiting an ailing relative.
Mr Advani has been a core part of the BJP's political strategy for the last 60 years and has never missed a meeting yet. There is disquiet thus at his decision to not attend the rally, amid talk that he is upset at the dissent in the party spilling out and upstaging the meet's agenda.
The BJP president also had to face dissent from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and BS Yeddyurappa from Karnataka. While Mr Modi was upset over the presence of his old rival, Sanjay Joshi, Mr Yeddyurappa was in a deep sulk with his party leadership for "sidelining" him. Mr Modi later agreed to attend the meeting after Sanjay Joshi resigned as a member of the BJP national executive. Mr Yeddyurappa too changed his mind after Mr Modi decided to attend.
These dramatic events dominated what was meant to have been a resurgent, united party's strategy meet. On Thursday, the BJP president handed his partymen three mantras: Expand the National Democratic Alliance, increase the BJP's vote share by 10 per cent, and concentrate efforts on building a base among the poor, the minorities and Dalits.
It had planned a sedate Day 2 (Friday) with strategy-making on the agenda. The BJP has on its plate strategising for the July elections that will decide who becomes the next President of India. Also, with general elections just two years away, it has to blueprint its plan of attack against the Congress-led government at the Centre. And most importantly, it has to prepare for Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year. The BJP rules both those states and must retain them in the run-up to the 2014 General Elections.