Devendra Fadnavis is set to be the next chief minister of Maharashtra after Union transport minister extended his support to the state BJP chief after a meeting in Nagpur on Thursday.
With Gadkari falling in line, the BJP is expected to nominate Fadnavis, 44, as the leader of the legislative party on October 27.
The new government is likely to be sworn in at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on October 28 or 29, sources indicated. The Shiv Sena has already the support of its 63 legislators to the saffron party that won an impressive 122 seats in the 288-member assembly.
Party insiders said the patch up between the two leaders came after BJP high command expressed its displeasure at a show of strength by
Gadkari’s supporters, who had demanded on Tuesday that the minister be made CM.
The two leaders met twice, with Fadnavis heading for the minister’s home on Thursday morning. The 44-year-old had come to seek guidance from Gadkari in running the government and held no grudges, sources said. The two attended the Diwali puja at the party office later in the day.
On his part, Gadkari denied any rivalry with Fadnavis but pointed out that the young leader was his protege.
“We have no differences. My political guru is Devendra’s father Gangadharrao Fadnavis and I was instrumental in bringing Devendra into politics,” he said.
The BJP won a resounding 122 seats in the recently-concluded Maharashtra elections after parting ways with the Shiv Sena that secured only 63 seats.
Sources said Gadkari knew he wouldn’t get the CM’s job but wanted to prove his political clout in the state, especially in Vidarbha where the BJP won 44 seats, an all-time high.
Fadnavis is expected to visit Mumbai on Saturday to meet PM Narendra Modi who is in the city to inaugurate a charitable hospital. The PM is also expected to hold a meeting of state BJP leaders.