The top two leaders in the state shall both be from Vidarbha. After Devendra Fadnavis, the spotlight will be on Sudhir Mungantiwar, a legislator elected from Ballarpur in Chandrapur district, who is sure to get a prominent portfolio in the state cabinet.
Sudhir Mungantiwar with CM-to-be Devendra Fadnavis
Party sources surmised it could even be the crucial home ministry. The Fadnavis-Mungantiwar duo will most likely mimic the Narendra Modi-Rajnath Singh partnership.
Mungantiwar hails from Vidarbha’s Chandrapur district, and is rooted in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological big brother. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also from Chandrapur.
Mungantiwar is a former state president of the BJP and is said to have performed well in his tenure. He would’ve even got a second term, but after his mentor, Nitin Gadkari, had to resign from the post of national chief, he, too, vacated his chair.
A member of the core committee of the BJP’s state team, he is said to be instrumental in crafting the party’s campaign in the state ahead of the Assembly elections. Though he courted controversy when he rallied behind Gadkari and supported him as the next CM of the state, he seconded Fadnavis’s name in the party legislature meet at Vidhan Bhavan on Tuesday.
“Mungantiwar is an experienced man. He held the tourism ministry in the 1995 BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government. He also has sound administration skills and shares a good rapport with Fadnavis.
We are sure both will be able to sail the government through rough seas,” said a senior party leader. Eknath Khadse was touted as the second in command, but his open rebellion against Fadnavis cost him dear. When contacted, Mungantiwar’s PA said he would call back. He couldn’t be reached later.