In the eight months since he quit as BJP president over alleged financial deals of his formerly held Purti Group, Nitin Gadkari has come into prominence as a trouble shooter and a peace maker.
In the latest crisis too, till the last moment, Gadkari was keen that the announcement on Narendra Modi was made only with Advani’s “consent” but that was not to be.
In the last two days, Gadkari shuttled between homes of senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and party chief Rajnath Singh as never before — to break ice over the issue of nomination of Modi as prime minister candidate.
At one point, pro-Modi leaders raised doubts about Gadkari’s efforts. But his efforts were clearly visible as he sought to persuade Advani and Swaraj, say other party officials.
Swaraj turned up the BJP parliamentary board meeting, which decided on Modi’s nomination, after much “persuasion”.
Gadkari’s USP, as many BJP leaders acknowledge, is his proximity to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who was upset that his second term was scuttled by media reports about his Purti Group’s deals.
Subsequently, when nothing came out of the probe, Bhagwat was keen that Gadkari was assigned an important role.
Later, when things were still not happening for Gadkari, Advani took up his cause. So much so, last June, Advani even made an issue of the delay in Gadkari’s rehabilitation to oppose Modi’s appointment as BJP’s Lok Sabha campaign head at the end of the Goa conclave. Gadkari insisted on Advani not to press his case for appointment as BJP campaign head.
When Advani resigned on June 10, Gadkari persuaded him to withdraw his resignation after getting Bhagwat to speak to him.
Gadkari accepted without fuss when he was asked to take charge of the Delhi elections though he had expected to be given charge of Rajasthan too. On taking charge of Delhi, Gadkari got arch rivals Vijay Goel and Vijendra Gupta to work together.