MUMBAIl: A day after Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari flexed his muscles in his hometown Nagpur, a chorus to make him Maharashtra’s Chief Minister grew louder on Wednesday.
Prominent BJP leader Vinod Tawde toed his senior party colleague Sudhir Mungantiwar’s line and extended support to Gadkari for the coveted post. “Nitinji (Gadkari) is our biggest leader after the late (Gopinath) Mundeji. Everyone in the party wants him to be the CM,” Tawde said.
Former state BJP president Mungantiwar was the first to reveal his mind on the issue. He had said that he would be happy if Gadkari returned to state politics and took up the top job.
Three newly elected BJP legislators from Nagpur have shown interest in vacating their seats if Gadkari was made the CM.
Krishna Khopde (Nagpur East), Sudhakar Kohale (Nagpur South) and Sagar Meghe (Hingana) said that they would be happy if the “CM” represented their constituencies.
“I have been saying it since the day I started campaigning for the Assembly elections that I will be the first to vacate my seat for Nitinji(Gadkari). He is our leader and he has shaped my career,” Khopde, also chief of Nagpur BJP, said.
Meanwhile, there is considerable apprehension in the BJP’s estranged partner Shiv Sena that it would lose a good political opportunity. The party’s two prominent leaders, Subhash Desai and Anil Desai, have assured Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the party would support the BJP in government formation. The duo had called on Rajnath in Delhi on Tuesday night and laid some conditions while extending the party’s support. They had planned to meet BJP incharge of Maharashtra J P Nadda too. However, the meeting could not take place.
The Shiv Sena leaders returned here on Wednesday morning and appraised party chief Uddhav Thackeray of the political situation. The Sena leaders, though, remained tight-lipped on their “proposal” to the BJP.
“The talks were positive. We will take a decision after Diwali,” Subhash said.
Tawde denied that there was any proposal from the Shiv Sena. “It will be difficult to run the government smoothly if there are too many conditions,” he said, indicating that the Shiv Sena had its own terms and conditions.