Nagpur city was all alive to welcome the city’s son. People lined up along side the road from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport to Gadkariwada in Mahal to welcome their beloved ‘Nitin’ after he became the national president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The welcome was so unprecedented and historic that even Gadkari himself might not have imagined it. The thunderous welcome accorded to him saw participation of not only the BJP leaders, workers and activists, but also people from every stratum of the society. The crowd was so large, the procession was so long that it took Gadkari and his cavalcade to reach Gadkariwada-his residence-situated at a distance of 11 km- almost five hours from the airport.
As soon as Gadkari arrived at Nagpur airport after assuming the responsibility as national president of BJP in New Delhi, he was welcomed by the top leaders of the party including former MPs Banwarilal Purohit and Kirit Somaiya and Shishupal Patle, MP from Chandrapur Hansraj Ahir, MLAs Devendra Fadanvis, Chainsukh Sancheti, Sudhakar Deshmukh and others.
As he came out of the airport, and offered floral tributes to Dr Ambedkar’a statue, Gadkari was greeted with a shower of flower petals by the waiting crowd. The road was so jam-packed that there was hardly any place to stand. Gadkari also offered floral tributes to Dr Hedgewar’s portrait at Dr Hedgewar Square on Wardha Road before the historic rally began its journey to Mahal. Gadkari was standing on a specially decorated rath along with the senior party leaders. The party workers were waving BJP flags, bursting crackers and shouting slogans all along the road. The rally passed through main squares on the way and everywhere the same story was repeated. Hoardings, banners and posters displayed the popular affection and love Gadkari enjoyed from the city.
For Nitin Gadkari it was an unexpected event for he never had experienced such a welcome and his feelings reflected when he said, “I never expected, even in my dreams, that party workers and people of Nagpur will shower this much love on me and greet me in such a grand manner. It encourages and inspires me to work for the development of the society and party”.
Later, addressing the party workers who had gathered in front of Gadkariwada, Nitin Gadkari said that he was aware of the responsibility he had been entrusted with. “Sitting on the seat that was once held by our great leaders like former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, my responsibilities towards the people of the country and the party have increased manifold. I have a strong political will, blessings of my seniors and support of party workers. I will definitely give a better performance in these three years. My successful tenures as BJP Maharashtra president and PWD Minister are a clear indication,” he said.
Gadkari also expressed his resolve to work for the party organisation. “I will not contest any election nor take Rajya Sabha membership”, he said adding that he also wanted to quit as MLC to devote himself fully to the party.