He was seen as the obvious heir to the Pramod Mahajan legacy. Gopinath Munde, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Mahajan's brother-in-law, has officially made the leap to national politics to step into the shoes of the latter.
On Monday, Munde was named the party's National General Secretary, a key position in the party hierarchy.
The announcement came from New Delhi when party president, Rajnath Singh, declared his new team. Though the party is yet to decide the states Munde will be given charge of, the senior leader is most likely to take charge of Maharashtra like Mahajan did for nearly a decade.
The party's spokesperson Prakash Javadekar confirmed that Munde had been appointed as one of the seven general secretaries of the party.
"He is a very prominent mass leader with appeal throughout the country," Javdekar told HT from New Delhi. "And he is willing to play a role in national politics."
A prominent OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader, Munde could fill in the void created by Uma Bharti's exit from the party. But it could be a while until Munde proves himself to be a master strategist and powerful orator like Mahajan.
Mahajan, who once occupied the same post, succumbed to bullet injuries inflicted upon him by his younger brother, Pravin last May.
After Mahajan's death, political circles were abuzz with talk that Munde would be the obvious choice to replace him. Mahajan's daughter, Poonam Mahajan-Rao, said she was very happy with the news, both personally and professionally.
"Mundeji is the biggest mass leader we have today. He is a student of Pramod Mahajan's paathshaala (school). So I'm confident he'll do the best," she said.
Rao also added that she felt someone "deserving" had taken her father's place. "My father figure has got the right place at the right time."
Munde is currently recuperating from an arm injury after he met with an accident in his hometown, Parli, in Marathwada in December last year.