Despite Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari’s supporters pushing for his CM candidature, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis’ chance of grabbing the top post remains high.
Sources said, the party’s high command did not approve the Gadkari camp’s show of strength in Nagpur on Tuesday in an apparent bid to tell the leadership that Fadnavis wasn’t a consensus choice. “The high command has come to know that only 16 MLAs, as against 39-40 claimed by the Gadkari supporters, were present on the minister’s arrival from New Delhi,” said a senior leader requesting anonymity.
BJP insiders said Fadnavis, 44, already has the backing of the party brass and the RSS functionaries. “Fadnavis’ name will be announced officially after a legislative party meeting in Mumbai post Diwali,” a leader who is in the knowhow of the matter said. The young leader’s chances have become even stronger because of the Shiv Sena’s preparedness to join the BJP government.
“The Sena will not have any issues with Fadnavis, if he is the PM’s choice,” another leader said.
Gadkari supporters’ demand stemmed from the fact that the BJP would have a minority government and may possibly rely heavily on parties like the NCP for its support in case of any trust deficit.
Incidentally, Gadkari enjoys warm relations with NCP boss Sharad Pawar, but he does not have the same acceptance in the Uddhav camp. Fadnavis, however, has maintained silence on the issue.