Other States

Pawar’s praise for Gadkari seen as ‘taunt’ to Fadnavis

The admiration between Nitin Gadkari and Sharad Pawar is mutual.  

The recent shower of praises by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leadership on Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is in stark contrast with the party’s sour relations with the BJP’s State leadership, especially former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Many a time, nothing moves for years after the stone laying ceremony of a project. But if that ceremony is at a programme of (Nitin) Gadkari, then changes are visible within two to three days,” said NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a programme in Ahmednagar district on October 2 where he was sharing the dais with Mr. Gadkari.

Mr. Pawar’s praise did not stop there. He said whenever he visited any part of the country and witnesses good roads, the local officers and elected representatives thanked Mr. Gadkari for it.

The admiration is mutual. Since the formation of the tripartite alliance in the State, Mr. Gadkari has refrained from attacking the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and has, instead, focused only on making announcements of his departments and holding official meetings.

From the ’90s

The bonhomie between the Pawar family and Mr. Gadkari dates back to the ’90s when the latter was heading the State unit of the BJP. “It was also because late Gopinath Munde was a bitter critic of Mr. Pawar. The cold war between Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Munde over supremacy in the party is well known. The closeness between Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Pawar has its roots since then,” said Abhay Deshpande, political commentator and senior journalist.

However, in the present context when Mr. Gadkari has become a non-player in the State unit of the BJP, thanks to Mr. Fadnavis, the NCP leadership singing paeans of the Union Minister is also being seen as a taunt to Mr. Fadnavis.

Mr. Gadkari’s influence in State BJP has gone down for the last four years. This became evident when his loyalist Chandrashekhar Bawankule was denied a ticket in the 2019 Assembly elections. Later, his choice of candidate was not even considered in the run up to the MLC polls in Nagpur graduate constituency.

The NCP leader is not alone in his praise. In the last week of September, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, while sharing the dais with Mr. Gadkari at a programme in Pune, compared the Minister’s work with that of late Yashwantrao Chavan (State’s first CM) and Sharad Pawar (as Union Minister). “MPs and MLAs of any party can approach him any time if they need help from the Union government,” he had said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 4:21:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pawars-praise-for-gadkari-seen-as-taunt-to-fadnavis/article36832213.ece

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