BJP leader Mungantiwar pitches for Nitin Gadkari as Maha CM

BJP leader Mungantiwar pitches for Nitin Gadkari as Maha CM

BJP leader Mungantiwar pitches for Nitin Gadkari as Maha CM

Even as Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis is said to be in the reckoning to lead the state as first chief minister of the saffron party, his predecessor Sudhir Mungantiwar today came out strongly in favour of Union minister and senior leader Nitin Gadkari for the coveted post.

"State BJP leaders feel that Nitin Gadkariji should come back to the state politics and take up the position of the CM of Maharashtra. He has a lot of administrative experience behind him which makes him an ideal candidate," said Mungantiwar, also a member of state BJP core committee.

When pointed out that Gadkari has already refused to give up his ministerial berth and enter state politics, Mungantiwar said, "We are surprised that Gadkari has said that he doesn't want to be in the state. We all demand, in fact, the party here in Maharashtra wants Gadkari to be CM," he said.

Responding to a query, Mungantiwar said Shiv Sena should extend its support to BJP for forming government without setting any preconditions.

"I feel Shiv Sena should support us in forming the next government without having any pre-conditions. As far as the support of NCP is concerned, there is no harm in thinking on their proposal as they have decided to provide an unconditional support to our party," he said.

When contacted, senior party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy refused to comment.
BJP, which wrested Maharashtra from Congress-NCP by winning 123 seats in recently held Assembly elections, has failed to reach the magic figure of 145 seats required to form government on its own in the 288-member House.

The political scene in the state hot up after Sharad Pawar-led NCP, which won 41 seats, offered its unconditional outside support to BJP to form government, virtually checkmating BJP's erstwhile ally Shiv Sena from foisting upon any pre-conditions on BJP in return of its support.

Though names of Gadkari and other senior leaders like Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde were also doing rounds for the chief minister's post, BJP MLA Pankaja Munde, daughter of party stalwart (late) Gopinath Munde, had caused a flutter saying that "public sentiment" was for her to occupy the coveted post. She later clarified that she was not in race for CM.

Fadnavis had earlier said that "there are no front runners or back runners" in the race for chief ministership in his party.So far, BJP has not taken any decision on the Chief minister of Maharashtra and is likely to take it after Diwali.