Sanjay Joshi is the man who has never really held the top posts, but has known power from being an indispensable cog in the wheel. His moments in the news have been linked to controversies, his achievements celebrated in the backrooms.
Recently, the dynamics of his relationship with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi have kept him in the news. It has meant six months of being in the spotlight because Mr Modi would just not accept Mr Joshi's return to the BJP and eventually forced him to resign from the party's national executive in May and from the party's primary membership a month later.
When Mr Joshi made news last, seven years ago, it was because of a sleaze CD that circulated as the BJP celebrated its 25 years. Those around Mr Joshi could just not relate the pracharak who lived by the RSS rule book, with the scandalous recording. Sanjay Joshi was cast out by his party for six years, till another RSS man Nitin Gadkari, as BJP president, brought him back to the party for his famed organizational skills.
The RSS soundly backed Nitin Gadkari's decision. In those six years in political wilderness, Mr Joshi had been proved innocent - the CD was declared doctored.
Mr Joshi, a bachelor, has been reported to make a virtue of the simple life. A Maharashtrian, he is a trained mechanical engineer and also taught engineering before making the RSS his entire life.
The RSS posted him to the BJP around the same time that it sent another RSS man, Narendra Modi, to the political arm of the saffron brigade. Mr Modi joined Gujarat politics as a BJP man in 1987; Mr Joshi joined in 1988. They would be colleagues - Mr Modi a general secretary in the Gujarat BJP and Mr Joshi, secretary (organisation) on deputation - working together to build the state unit of the BJP from the grassroots. The fissures came later when the Shankarsinh Vaghela revolt split the party wide open.
The year was 1995. A power tussle played out between Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and Mr Vaghela, a senior minister, who staged a coup, locking himself up with several MLAs in a five-star resort in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, then ruled by a gleeful Congress. Mr Vaghela switched sides eventually joining the Congress; Mr Patel had to relinquish power and Suresh Mehta succeeded him as Chief Minister. Keshubhai had to wait only till 1998, when the BJP came right back to power. Mr Patel was CM again and faithful aide Sanjay Joshi's organisational skills were credited for the victory.
Mr Modi, not quite on the same side, was moved to the party headquarters in New Delhi. The fissures ran deep now. In 2001, in the wake of the massive earthquake that devastated large parts of Gujarat and much criticism of Keshubhai Patel's handling of the quake aftermath, Narendra Modi got his chance. He was sent to Gandhinagar as Gujarat Chief Minister.
This time it was Mr Joshi who had to make his way to Delhi. He went there as BJP general secretary (organisation) and is said to have made his mark soon enough. In 2005, came the CD scandal.
Though Mr Joshi was exonerated soon, Mr Modi, increasingly powerful in the party and having entrenched himself unassailably in Gujarat, and his loyalists prevailed in keeping him out. Last year, when Nitin Gadkari brought back Mr Joshi as coordinator for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and appointed him to the BJP National Executive, Mr Modi went into a deep sulk. He skipped an important party meet forwarding the lamest of excuses and then refused to campaign in the crucial UP elections.
It was when he refused to attend yet another BJP national executive meet in May this year, that Mr Joshi was made to resign from the national executive. He did so hours before the meeting started and Mr Modi agreed to attend. Mr Joshi's resignation has been extolled as an act of sacrifice by Mr Gadkari. But the latest Sanjay Joshi episode provided ammunition to the growing and increasingly vocal band of Modi-baiters in Gujarat, made up of leaders within the BJP, like Keshubhai Patel and those who had left the BJP in the Modi years, like Suresh Mehta, and Gordhan Zadaphia.
On June 5, posters appeared overnight in Ahmedabad praising Mr Joshi. The posters also took an oblique swipe at Mr Modi saying those with narrow minds cannot be big leaders. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the posters, which were also posted in Delhi outside the BJP's office.
As impatience with Mr Modi's leadership grows and speculation spreads about a possible split in the Gujarat BJP, Mr Joshi's role will be keenly watched.