With the Bharatiya Janata Party delaying any decision on government formation in Maharashtra till after Diwali, voices started growing on Tuesday to bring Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari back to the state and make him the chief minister.
BJP MLA and former state unit president Sudhir Mungantiwar today said he and other state leaders want Gadkari to be appointed as the chief minister of Maharashtra.
“State BJP leaders feel that Nitin Gadkariji should come back to the state politics and take up the position of the CM of Maharashtra. He has a lot of administrative experience behind him which makes him an ideal candidate,” said Mungantiwar, who is also a member of the state BJP core committee.
Mungantiwar further said he will request Gadkari to take up the post.
“We are surprised that Gadkari has said that he doesn’t want to be in the state. We all demand, in fact, the party here in Maharashtra wants Gadkari to be CM,” he added.
It may be noted that Gadkari is not keen on returning to state politics and has said before many times that he was happy in Delhi.
“I am not in the race to become the chief minister of Maharashtra,” Gadkari had said earlier.
BJP president Amit Shah’s meeting yesterday with Gadkari had raised speculation that the Union Minister was in the CM’s race but it appeared to be ruled out by party insiders.
The demand came even as BJP’s Maharashtra chief Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the frontrunner for the CM’s post overcoming challenge from other veterans including Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde.
Gadkari had earlier in the day met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the latter’s residence and spent about half an hour with him to discuss the party’s strategy ahead.
He later arrived in Nagpur to hold discussions with the RSS top brass on the BJP options ahead. RSS is keen that the saffron forces should united but have left it to the BJP to decide.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who as and party observer was expected to arrive in Mumbai along with senior colleague JP Nadda to crown the next Maharashtra chief minister, today postponed his visit for the second time in a row and will now come down next week.
“I am not going today. I may go to Mumbai after Diwali,” Rajnath Singh told media persons in New Delhi, extending the nail-biting suspense in the state since the BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the 13th Assembly Elections but fell short of simple majority.
The state BJP – already assured of unconditional external support from the Nationalist Congress Party – has decided to continue its independent efforts to cobble up at least a minority government.
It has contacted over a dozen of the 18 independents or newly-elected legislators from small and regional parties who have got single-digit representation in the new House.