Amidst speculations that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari could be drafted in as Maharashtra chief minister in place of the earlier front-runner for the post – Devendra Fadnavis, the Nagpur MP reiterated on Thursday that he was happy to stay in Delhi. Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Mumbai on Saturday to end the deadlock persisting in the state post the assembly polls.
Gadkari, however, did not rule out the fact that certain sections of the party were gunning for him taking the Maharashtra top post. “Yes, some people want me to be Maharashtra CM, but I am not in the race,” he said, and added, “I have already said am happy in Delhi. I have no wish to come back to Maharashtra from Delhi. I’m satisfied by Delhi’s work.”
On his alleged tussle with Fadnavis over the CM’s chair, Gadkari averred, “Devendra Fadnavis and me are of the same party. I brought him into politics, there is no race.”
“We are saddened by debate in media regarding me and Devendra (Fadnavis),” he said and further added, “We have family relations. There is no difference between us. Such reports are saddening.”
Early today, Fadnavis called on Gadkari at his residence fuelling rumours that the fight for Maharashtra CM’s post was nearing its end.
On Wednesday, Nagpur-East MLA Krishna Khopde had offered to quit and vacate his seat to pave way for his mentor Gadkari to don the Maharashtra mantle.
Khopde, a second term MLA, told that he was willing to resign for Gadkari from his constituency.
Fadnavis, however, remained tight-lipped and made no comments.
Gadkari had also said that he is ready to accept any responsibility given to him by the party’s central leadership.
About 39 BJP MLAs all from Vidarbha region had met Gadkari at his residence and demanded that he be made the state’s Chief Minister.
The senior BJP leader had later told the electronic media that the MLAs who met him “have a lot of respect for me and they are requesting me to be the Chief Minister.
“I have already clarified my stand not to return to state politics. It’s for the party’s central leadership to decide and I will accept any responsibility given to me,” said the former chief of BJP which has emerged as the single largest part in Assembly elections with 123 MLAs, 22 short of majority in the 288-member Assembly.