Did Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari advise the party against forming the government with the help of Ajit Pawar? It now emerges that Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis did not pay any heed to the advice given by Nitin Gadkari in the Maharashtra impasse. Gadkari, who too is from Nagpur like Devendra Fadnavis, is a master strategist with his finger on the pulse of Maharashtra. He is also considered very close to the RSS establishment. He reportedly advised the top leadership not to believe Ajit Pawar as he is quite slippery and very impulsive. He changes decisions very fast. He also told the party leadership that it was over-estimating the capabilities of Ajit Pawar to split the party. He had also reportedly warned the BJP leadership about the manipulative skills of Sharad Pawar.
But, the Modi-Shah combine believed in Devendra's abilities and went by his reading of the situation. Devendra Fadnavis was pretty confident that Ajit Pawar would break the NCP and come out with a significant number of MLAs. But, by Monday morning itself, it became very clear that the NCP MLAs were going back to Sharad Pawar. The Supreme Court verdict sealed the fate of Fadnavis. On Monday evening, Ajit Pawar skipped a strategy meeting and it became clear that he was in two minds.
It is being said that the senior BJP leader had also warned that the efforts to split the NCP will go against the BJP. It will be seen as a war of supremacy between the Brahmins (Fadnavis is a Brahmin) and Marathas (Sharad Pawar is the tallest leader of the Marathas) and will bring back the memories of the Brahmin Peshwas vs Maratha Chatrapathis. This will affect the caste calculus of Maharashtra, Gadkari reportedly suggested. The party is now paying the price for ignoring Gadkari's advice.