Maharashtra: Big jolt to Fadnavis as 39 MLAs back Gadkari as chief minister
NAGPUR: The divide in Maharashtra BJP came out in the
open with 39 of the forty Vidarbha MLAs requesting Nitin Gadkari to take over
as Maharashtra’s Chief Minister, giving a big jolt to the process of anointing
Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.
The MLAs came together aboard a flight from Mumbai to
Nagpur on Tuesday evening and headed straight to Gadkari’s residence and urged
him to take over as CM.
Being seen as natural extension of the much-speculated
Gadkari-Fadnavis (Devendra) turf war in Nagpur, which the two leaders have
always denied, Tuesday’s gathering at Gadkari’s place has brought the division
out in the open beyond any doubt.
The MLAs even shouted slogans, “Maharashtra ka
mukhyamantri kaisa ho, Nitin Gadkari jaisa ho (Maharashtra needs a CM like
Gadkari).” Former party state unit chief Sudhir Mungantiwar, a close Gadkari
aide and third name in contention for the post, however, wasn’t present.
Gadkari sought to play down the development saying,
“it is their love for me that has prompted them to urge me to become CM. But I
have repeatedly said I am not interested in returning to state and that I want
to do good work in my present assignment at Delhi. The CM will be chosen by the
But with almost entire flank of Vidarbha party MLAs
throwing their lot behind Gadkari, it has become clear as to who calls the
shots in Maharashtra BJP. Some of the MLAs even spoke independently to the media
saying they want Gadkari to take over “since Maharashtra needs able
Meanwhile in MUMBAI, amid continuing stand-off with
Shiv Sena, BJP’s Maharashtra assembly poll in charge Om Mathur on Tuesday said
his party was the new ‘big brother’ in the state and others should not think
themselves as bigger when “the people’s verdict is otherwise.”
“The people of Maharashtra have given us the mandate
(to form government). A person or political party cannot think of themselves as
bigger when the people's verdict is otherwise. In the current situation, we are
the big brother,” he said.
Rubbishing media reports of Sena chief Uddhav
Thackeray having demanded deputy chief minister’s post and key portfolios like
home, finance, irrigation and PWD as a precondition for reuniting with BJP,
Mathur said, “It is a figment of media’s imagination.”
“It is true that Uddhav Thackeray called up the Prime
Minister and (BJP president) Amit Shah. He had called me as well. But it was
just a courtesy call to congratulate us on our win. All these reports of him
demanding ministries are completely baseless and bear no truth,” he said.
When asked if BJP will accept NCP’s offer of support
to form the next government, Mathur said a decision will be taken by the
central parliamentary board.