Nitin Gadkari as Maharashtra CM – Almost 40 of its 44 Vidarbha MLAs took a flight from Mumbai to Nagpur and asked former BJP president and Union minister Nitin Gadkari to take over as chief minister.
After deciding who will be the next Haryana chief minister, the Bhartiya Janata Party now has to decide upon the next Maharashtra chief minister.
The party has taken a break and the brainstorming will be done after Diwali. A lot of names have been popping for the list which has Devendra Fadnavis’s name on the top. But something took BJP by surprise on Tuesday.
Almost 40 of its 44 Vidarbha MLAs took a flight from Mumbai to Nagpur and asked former BJP president and Union minister Nitin Gadkari to take over as chief minister. All these 44 MLAs, oddly enough, were earlier supporting Fadnavis for the job.
These newly elected MLAs assembled outside Gadkari’s home and shouted slogans like “Maharashtra ka mukhya mantri kaisa ho, Nitin Gadkari jaisa ho”.
However, the minister downplayed the development and sad that he does not want the top post.
“It is their love for me that has prompted them to urge me to become CM. But I have repeatedly said that I am not interested in returning to the state… The CM will be chosen by the parliamentary party,” he reportedly said.
Interestingly, at the same time, Gadkari’s close aid Sudhir Mungantiwar was holding discussions with finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi.
Mungantiwar told reporters that the party leaders wanted see senior BJP leader and union minister Nitin Gadkari at the helm of the government in the state.
“We are surprised that Gadkari has said he doesn’t want to be in the state. Party leaders feel that he should return to the state and head the government. He is the most capable due to his administrative experience,” said Mungantiwar.
The whole scenario is being seen as a muscle flexing exercise by Gadkari who wants to send a message across to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah. Both Gadkari and Fadnavis hail from Vidarbha.
Apart from Fadnavis and Gadkari, other names in the race are of former leader of opposition in assembly Eknath Khadse and former leader of opposition in legislative council Vinod Tawde.
Among them, Fadnavis was tipped to be the front runner after BJP chief Amit Shah said that Fadnvis would lead the assembly election campaign and PM Modi called him a “Gift to Nagpur” – Gadkari’s home.
Perhaps this is what irked Gadkari and a subtle display of political might took centre-stage.