Is Nitin Gadkari a candidate waiting in the line to replace Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2019 general elections?
In 2014 there was a strong wave in favor of Modi as people were determined to oust the Congress. But the scenario has changed completely now. Modi’s popularity has sharply declined and his government is facing discontent from all sections of people. The overwhelming response to the ongoing Bharat Bandh is just an indication of it.
Even though, Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is not as towering as Modi's, but the Congress President has come a long way to boost his stature in the national politics after the grand old party’s phenomenal success in the recently concluded assembly elections in key Hindi heartland states where the saffron party was in power.
The senior leaders within the BJP are now losing confidence in the leadership of Modi and are worried about the party’s prospectsin 2019 elections. A section of leaders within the saffron outfit want leadership change and are endorsing Nitin Gadkari as the perfect replacement for Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate because of obvious reasons.
In the event of fractured mandate with BJP getting considerably less number of seats what it got in 2014 elections, Gadkari can play a crucial role in garnering supports of the regional parties.
Gadkari's recent statements that the party leadership should accept responsibility for electoral defeats (assembly elections and by-polls) are an indication of which way the winds are blowing.
Earlier, Gadkari said that in 2014, the mood in the BJP was such that they were quite sure that the saffron outfit can never come on power so the party should make as many promises as it can. No one will ever ask about the promises after election as BJP will not win the elections. But the reverse happened. The voters were lured by the tall promises made by Narendra Modi and they voted massively. Now when people rewind those promises the records of which are available on internet and ask why they are not implemented, they all laugh and move forward.
Gadkari enjoys good acceptance both in the RSS and among other BJP leaders. He is known for straight talks and cannot be accused by his party cadre for what he said because it was Amit Shah, who earlier said same thing by calling it as jumlaa.
As per media reports, conspiracies were hatched to deny Gadkari a second term party president when he held the post from 2009 to 2013. The RSS had to reluctantly support Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate in place of Gadkari in view of mood of the nation. Now that Modi wave is drastically waning and his public popularity is constantly falling, the RSS will no doubt support Gadkari.
Apart from it, Gadkari is a Maharashtrian. There is a popular demand in Maharashtra that the country should get a Marathi prime minister in future. And Gadkari is suitable for it given his stature in the national politics.