Gadkari emerging as an alternative

With 2019 general election looming large, a section of BJP and RSS is trying to push the candidature of Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari as next Prime Ministerial candidate of saffron party. Those sidelined by PM Narendra Modi and party president Amith Shah seems to mulling this idea. It all started with a prominent Maharashtra farmer leader demanding RSS to replace PM Modi with Gadkari if BJP wishes to win the 2019 general elections. In a huge embarrassment to BJP, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM) Chairperson Kishore Tiwari made the demand when Modi was recently in Maharashtra to attend a series of events. Gadkari himself has made several hair-raising comments fueling the political gossip. First he stated that leadership should take responsibilities for both winning and losing election.
This was seen as indirect attack on PM Modi and party president Amit Shah for recent election debacle in three Hindi heartland states. Though he alleged the media of distorting his statement but it further fueled the speculation. In another interesting statement on Monday last, Gadkari invoked the virtues of “tolerance” and expressed his fondness for former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speeches. He also said “tolerance is the biggest quality” and unity in diversity is real strength of India. This comes at a time when veteran Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah’s is being severely criticized by right wing groups for his comment on growing mob lynching in the country. In 2019 general election BJP in all probability will not repeat its perfomance of 2014. The saffron party is not expected to get full majority and may have to depend on NDA allies and also look for new one. Not many allies are comfortable with working style of Modi and Shah, with party like Shiv Sena very vocal about it. Gadkari may emerge as consensus candidate in case allies decides to part ways with Modi. Therefore his camp seems to making deliberate move for the PM candidature.