Before taking over as the BJP president, 52-year-old Nitin Gadkari celebrated the silver jubilee of his marriage with wife Kanchan on Friday.
Aware that his ascent to the party’s top job on Saturday would be watched as the next big thing in national politics, Gadkari said, “No interview please. I am leaving for Delhi tomorrow morning and returning on Sunday. I have kept the entire Friday for my family.”
Mohan Bhagwat, chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP’s parent organisation, and senior leaders are believed to have advised him to steer clear of the media till he takes over.
Gadkari, handpicked by Bhagwat, said, “I requested them (senior leader L.K. Advani and outgoing president Rajnath Singh) to allow me to spend some time with my family on Friday. They accepted.”
Gadkari is expected to meet senior RSS leaders at the RSS headquarters here on Saturday before leaving for Delhi. He will reach Delhi by Saturday and Singh will announce his takeover at 3 pm.
Gadkari rose through the ranks of the BJP’s students’ wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, but he has never won a direct election. He lost in the 1985 assembly elections from Nagpur. But later, he joined the legislative council in 1989.
As the public works minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government, Gadkari built India’s first expressway between Mumbai and Pune, initiated work on the sea-link between Bandra and Worli in Mumbai.
The Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna was reportedly his brainchild during his tenure as the chairman of the National Road Development Committee.