Firmly ensconced as a key member of Narendra Modi’s core group, Nitin Gadkari, who earned the distinction of being the youngest BJP president, is known as an able administrator with innovative approaches. A first-timer in Lok sabha, Gadkari, 57, has had a long innings in Maharashtra as minister and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council besides working at the national level in different capacities.
Born into a middle class agricultural family in Nagpur, he is hit the spotlight for giving his city a new face through his development work and also earned the nick-name of ‘flyover man during his stint as the PWD minister for building a series of flyovers in Mumbai.
The success of the Mumbai-Pune expressessway also brought him fame, with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking him to launch the national highway authority.
Gadkari was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nagpur, a traditional Congress stronghold, defeating seven time winner Vilas Mutthemwar by a margin of about three lakh vote.
The BJP-Shiv Sena combine has won 42 out of the 48 seats in Maharashtra, including all the ten seats in the Vidarbha region.
Inspired in his early life by the RSS, Gadkari entered politics as a student leader of ABVP and later joined the Janta Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP.
The imposition of emergency by Indira Gandhi in June 1975 was a turning point in his life, following which he decided todedicate his life to social work rather than practicising law.
Gadkari studied M.Com, LLB and diploma in business management.
As a PWD Minister between 1995 and 1999, he gained first experience to undertake infrastructure projects. He is quoted as having said that with Rs five, he earned the distinction of completing works worth Rs 8000 crore. He often recalls this unique distinction he earned as PWD minister.
He has promoted water management, solar energy projects and the use of modern technology and management tools in agriculture.
Married to Kanchan Gadkari, they have three children.