In the midst of discussions and allegations on the chief ministerial race in Maharashtra, BJP President Devendra Fadnavis met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari at his residence on Diwali, on Thursday.
Sources have described the visit as a courtesy call by Fadnavis to extend Diwali greetings to the senior BJP leader at his residence.
Meanwhile, after the Central BJP leadership sticks on to name of Fadnavis as the Maharashtra Chief Minister, the chance for Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to the post seem to be of less.
When asked about his stand, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday reiterated that he was not in the race for the post of Maharashtra chief minister. He had said that he is not interested to return to the state politics and is happy in the centre.
"I have already made it clear that I am interested in remaining in Delhi," Gadkari told the media. His comments came amid reports that a section of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators in Maharashtra want Gadkari as the chief minister. Whereas, while Fadnavis was asked about the issue, he reportedly asked, "What is wrong on the part of newly elected MLAs, many of them first-timers, if they call on a senior leader?"
Gadkari’s name was floated by former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, ex BJP state unit chief and Gadkari’s close aide. Mungantiwar reportedly claimed that senior leaders want Gadkari as the CM of Maharashtra.
According to reports, the statement came against the backdrop of the CM race where BJP President Devendra Fadnavis, senior leader Eknath Khadse, Mungantiwar himself, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde are touted as potential candidates.
However, as per reports, leader of opposition in state Legislative Council, Vinod Tawde had said on Wednesday that "there was no race and no competition" for the top post. He had said, "The legislature party will sit and decide it leader. The Central Parliamentary Board will then confirm that person as the leader who will be the Chief Minister."
Meanwhile, there were allegations that Fadnavis would sworn-in as Maharashtra CM on Monday but as per sources, the tight line-up of events and delay in opening formal talks with the Sena may postpone the ceremony to further days.