With ex-BJP chief Nitin Gadkari relenting on the decision to give a second term to incumbent state head Sudhir Mungantiwar, the road seems to be clear for Devendra Fadnavis to become the new state unit chief of the party. An announcement from New Delhi was expected to be made on Wednesday but now it will be made on the auspicious day of Gudi Padwa, say party sources.
The decision to have Fadnavis occupy the top post will mark the end of the ongoing cold war between the two groups, headed by Gadkari and Lok Sabha deputy leader Gopinath Munde respectively. In a meeting with party chief Rajnath Singh at Delhi, Gadkari is believed to have communicated his decision to accept Fadnavis.
According to an MLA from Vidarbha, Gadkari was keen on a second term for present incumbent Sudhir Mungantiwar but Munde opposed it. He was not ready to accept the Ballarpur MLA citing various reasons. But, when he realised that none of his close supporters such as Jalna MP Raosabhe Danwe was acceptable to Delhi leaders and the Gadkari camp, he threw his weight behind Fadnavis and created confusion among Gadkari’s supporters.
Even Gadkari relented after realising that opposing Fadnavis’ name could send the wrong signal as the Nagpur MLA was known as a workaholic and go-getter with his excellent performance in the state assembly. In the meantime, the name of Leader of Opposition in state council Vinod Tawde too came up. But Munde refused to accept him.
A number of meetings were held to discuss other names such as that of Danwe Mungantiwar and leader of opposition in state assembly Ekanth Khadse.
The battle reached its climax last week and for the first time, Munde, who visited Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday last, admitted that the announcement was delayed due to a lack of consensus. When pointed out that such developments were never seen in the history of the party, he refused to reply.
According to a senior leader of the party, it will be interesting to see if Munde’s aide Raj Purohit could retain the post of Mumbai BJP chief. The developments over the state unit chief have cast a shadow on the post of Mumbai chief.