Munde, Gadkari meet on Saturday may not yield BJP state president

Senior BJP leaders Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari will sit together Saturday to sort out the vexed issue of electing the next state party chief, but a solution is unlikely given their political compulsions and personal equations.

Leader of opposition in the legislative assembly Eknath Khadse is also likely to be there at the meeting.

While Munde is rooting for West Nagpur MLA Devendra Fadnavis, Gadkari is insisting on the incumbent, Sudhir Mungantiwar of Chandrapur.

Given the ego war between the two seniors, which party insiders say has resurfaced after the exit of Gadkari as national president, as also the complexity of selecting a "consensus" candidate, nobody in the party is sure of a solution being hammered out Saturday.

"The Munde camp has started to reassert after Gadkari was reduced to a leader without position. Fadnavis is unlikely to be accepted by Gadkari since his name has been proposed by Munde. Khadse can be a consensus candidate. But there are two problems: It is not easy to relinquish the powerful and glamorous position of leader of opposition in the legislative assembly and even if Khadse accepts, leg pain will discourage him from taking up the responsibility that requires undertaking extensive tours of the state ahead of elections next year," said a senior BJP leader.

"Also, if Khadse agrees, Mungantiwar will have to be made leader of opposition, which the Munde camp will to have accept."

During the three-year tenure of Gadkari as national president, the Munde camp was lying low. If Munde has his way, all that will change.

"Gadkari will be left with nothing even in his home state if Munde scores. Even if Gadkari accepts the Munde choice, he is unlikely to earn praise. Contrary, a sense of victory for Munde will be on subtle display. So, it is unlikely Gadkari will renege," the leader said.

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