The BJP’s hunt for a chief ministerial candidate in Maharashtra could be nearing its end, with Nagpur strongman Nitin Gadkari positioning himself as a mainstay for the party in the state.
Gadkari, who handles five portfolios in the Union cabinet, has expedited several projects in Maharashtra since the NDA government came to power at the Centre. These projects are not just ones that come under his ministries, but also those under the purview of his cabinet colleagues. While the former BJP president has drawn up an ambitious plan to develop Mumbai’s eastern waterfront, he cleared the tendering process of the Navi Mumbai international airport in just a day.
Gadkari, who was the PWD minister during the Shiv Sena-BJP government in the state from 1995-1999, also enjoys a clear political advantage in the state, especially after the demise of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who until recently was seen as the party’s first choice for the CM’s post.
The party’s national leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has backed Gadkari on his mega plans for Maharashtra, with the PM himself to be present at the launch of five major projects in the next five days.
Developing transport infrastructure is Gadkari’s forte and with the highways and shipping ministries under his command, the Nagpur MP is expected to combine the potential of both to improve infrastructure in the Mumbai metropolitan region.