Munde pitches for neutral candidate Fadnavis

Deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde has supported MLA Devendra Fadnavis for state BJP president. But the Nitin Gadkari camp is insisting on retaining Sudhir Mungantiwar.

BJP indicated Monday the decision to appoint a new state president was delayed by a week due to a lack of consensus. The party has convened a meeting of new district chiefs Tuesday for a wider consultation.

Sources quoted Munde as saying: "I want the state unit to contest the 2014 state assembly and parliament elections under an able and dynamic young leader like Fadnavis who does not belong to any camp."

However, there is a section loyal to former BJP national president Gadkari that is insisting on Mungantiwar.

The Gadkari camp said, "If one has to give priority to a candidate from Vidarbha, why replace Mungantiwar?" Mungantiwar was handpicked by Gadkari and Munde has not been able to give a reason to replace him.

He said, "There is no reason to dismiss the candidature of Fadnavis who has a non-controversial image. He is an upright candidate who exudes confidence among youth, has excellent oratorial skills and understanding of all subjects related to state administration and politics."

Those insisting on Mungantiwar countered, "The present president is also non-controversial and low-profile. He has the skills to run the organisation and works hard."

Unable to arrive at a consensus, both sides are now raising other, related issues such as a new president in Mumbai.

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