Sonia Loyalist Ahmed Patel Meets Gadkari After RSS Pitches Minister as Maharashtra Troubleshooter

Sonia Loyalist Ahmed Patel Meets Gadkari After RSS Pitches Minister as Maharashtra Troubleshooter

Mumbai: In a twist to the Maharashtra power struggle tale, Sonia Gandhi loyalist Ahmed Patel on Wednesday called on Nitin Gadkari at his residence, a day after the RSS threw its weight behind the Union minister as the troubleshooter to broker peace with a sulking Shiv Sena.

On Tuesday, Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat held a closed-door meeting with Devendra Fadnavis where he is said to have suggested to the caretaker chief minister that he must end the stalemate soon and stake claim to form a stable government before the verdict in the Ayodhya case, which is expected in a few days.

Sources in the Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor, said the RSS would have liked Gadkari to take charge of the situation in Maharashtra. Gadkari, who is in the good books of the RSS and has often received their backing, has earlier helmed the state but is reportedly not interested in returning to state politics.

The support for Gadkari to be the troubleshooter also came from the Sena, with farm activist Kishore Tiwari — who joined the Uddhav Thackeray-led party ahead of the Assembly polls — saying Bhagwat should depute Gadkari to resolve the power-tussle.

In a letter to Bhagwat, Tiwari said the RSS chief should take a serious note of the situation and intervene to end the deadlock over government formation in Maharashtra. He said people were worried over the Sangh’s “silence” on the issue. “Gadkari will be able to resolve the situation within two hours,” Tiwari said, when asked about his letter to Bhagwat.

Though Patel denied that there was a discussion over the deadlock, the timing of the visit assumes significance. Gadkari is known to enjoy cordial relations with the opposition and after the demise of Arun Jaitley, the BJP has been looking for someone who can play the role of the bridge between the Opposition and the treasury benches. The Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to begin from November 18 and the meeting could be seen as an attempt to bring parties on the same page for a productive session.

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