Setback for Nitin Gadkari as Gopinath Munde ushers in Fadnavis as state BJP chief

Nitin Gadkari-Gopinath MundeThe appointment of Devendra Fadnavis as Maharashtra BJP chief is a victory for Gopinath Munde over arch rival Nitin Gadkari. (IE photo)

The appointment of Devendra Fadnavis as state BJP president is a victory for deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde over arch rival and former party national president Nitin Gadkari.

The appointment is also an indication Munde will play a more proactive role in the state ahead of the polls next year.

Gadkari has been trying to re-assert his political supremacy in the state ever since he was denied a second term as BJP national president.

He was pitching for retention of Sudhir Mungantiwar, the Ballarpur MLA hand-picked by him to lead BJP in the state. But Munde played his cards well and projected Fadnavis, who could not be dismissed by the central leadership on merit. Political managers in BJP said, "After two-and-a-half months national president Rajnath Singh was fed up with the power tussle in the state. In the last 48 hours, he said enough is enough and told state leaders to take a call in larger interest of the organisation and select Fadnavis."

Sources in the Gadkari camp said, "Our single-point agenda was to ensure Munde does not become Maharashtra BJP president. We have no issues with Fadnavis."

Fadnavis will have to walk tight rope and his biggest challenge in the days to come will be to sort out differences between the Gadkari and Munde camps, which always work at cross purposes and fought for almost two-and-a-half months to get their nominees installed in the state hot seat.

BJP insiders said, "It is going to be an uphill task for Fadnavis, who always exercised caution to avoid traps as general secretary of state BJP for two successive term."

Shortly after the formal announcement of his appointment, he said, "I consider it a major responsibility, not a post of prestige or power. I will take everybody along to strengthen the organisation."

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