Maharashtra BJP searches for Gadkari's successor

"The party would start the process of choosing the president for the state in March next year after consulting all the senior party members," state party spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told PTI.

Considering the changing face of the party at the national level, the state unit would also encourage its GenNext leaders for the post, a party source said.

Among the contenders for the post are the likes of Sudhir Mungantiwar, MLA from Ballarpur in Vidarbha, three-time MLA from Nagpur Devendra Phadnavis, MLA from Jat in Sangli district Prakash Shendge and MLC Vinod Tawde.

With young leader in the president's post, the BJP wants to adopt an aggressive agenda to expand the party in the state, the source said.The BJP leaders think that Shiv Sena-BJP alliance has restricted the party growth in the state so far. However, this is the right time to expand the party when the Sena is weakening due to Raj Thackeray-led MNS, the estranged nephew of Sena chief Bal Thackeray, party sources said.
Mungantiwar is front runner in the race, with experience in politics and image as an aggressive leader in the Assembly. Phadnavis is known for his studious nature and is much younger than other competitors.

Tawde is close to Gadkari and also the general secretary of the party unit in the state. Shendge belongs to Dhangar community and his selection may give the party a non-Brahmin face.

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