The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra is pushing younger leaders forward, after its state president Nitin Gadkari’s elevation as the party’s national president.
Gadkari’s now vacant chair as state president is unlikely to be filled immediately.
“The new state president will be selected by March next year when the organisational elections will be done,” said state BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari. Until then, one of the state unit vice-presidents will be appointed caretaker president, he added.
Sources said Gadkari wants to appoint a wave of GenNext leaders to key posts in the party. The names being considered for state party president include young leaders such as Vinod Tawde, Sudhir Munguntiwar and Devendra Phadnavis, all second-rung leaders being groomed for future leadership positions.
The party is also planning to replace Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Pandurang Phudkar with a younger legislator.
Sources said Tawde will likely be appointed as Opposition Leader in the Council and Munguntiwar or Phadnavis could be state president.
The BJP in the state is promoting young leaders in a bid to map out an aggressive agenda for the near future, especially with Gadkari making it clear he wants to expand the party’s base in Maharashtra.
“Our growth has been compromised due to our alliance with the Sena. Following two splits caused by Raj Thackeray and Narayan Rane, the Sena stands weakened. This is the time for us to grow,” a key party leader said.
The result of this renewed aggression was seen in the last Assembly election – the results were not spectacular, but the BJP did win more seats (46) than the Sena (44) in the state polls.
Gadkari’s political rival Gopinath Munde said he will cooperate with the new party president. Munde also told the media in Delhi that he was not unhappy with Gadkari’s elevation as the party’s national president.