Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) A self-made politician-cum-businessman, Nitin J. Gadkari, 62, hails from Nagpur in eastern Maharashtra and started his political career with the ABVP and BJYM wings of the RSS and BJP respectively.
An endearing and mild-mannered person adept at winning friends and influencing people, Gadkari, who is a Brahmin by birth, joined the BJP and later became a minister in Maharashtra’s first opposition saffron-combine Shiv Sena-BJP government headed by Manohar Joshi (1995-1999).
Enjoying excellent personal rapport with leaders of all parties, and with his penchant for improving the basic transport infrastructure in the state, he quickly gained prominence and was the moving spirit behind the hundreds of flyovers, roads, state and national highways, including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
He occupied several positions in Maharashtra, including state BJP president and Leader of the Opposition, but his big moment of responsibility came in 2009, when he was elected the BJP President, a post which he held till 2013.
The mandate was to revamp and rebuild the party, which had faced a rout in two successive Lok Sabha elections (2004-2009), besides in several other states that left the cadres demoralised. And Gadkari he lived upto the challenge.
In the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gadkari handled crucial and high-visibility infrastructure-related portfolios like Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, etc and made his indelible mark there.
Given his all-round experience and no-nonsense approach to work, Gadkari may be allotted key portfolios in the second Modi government.