New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and former Party president Nitin Jairam Gadkari, who is the new minister for Road Transport & Highways (RTH) and Shipping, in the Narendra Modi government may not assume office on Tuesday.
"Gadkari, has plans to fly to Nagpur this afternoon and may not take charge today," a source said.
"Most likely Gadkari will take charge tomorrow as he has to go to Nagpur," a RTH Ministry official said.
An aide of Gadkari too said that there were chances that he may not take charge today.
Gadkari, a key member of Modi`s core group who earned the distinction of being the youngest BJP president has been assigned the crucial RTH and Shipping Ministry portfolio. Earlier, the two ministries were held by different ministers.
Known as an able administrator with innovative approaches he faces the challenges of reviving the road sector which has projects worth at least Rs 1.5 lakh crore stalled on account of various regulatory hurdles.
Born into a middle class agricultural family in Nagpur, he 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.
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 8,000 crore.
The success of the Mumbai-Pune expressway also brought him fame, with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking him to launch the national highway authority.
The highways sector has hit a low during the last few years, and the Modi government is expected to inject a new life in the infrastructure sector.
The challenges before him include reviving the ailing road sector and also upgrading 55,000 km of highways with an expenditure of Rs 5.89 lakh crore, a large portion of which is likely to be funded by the private sector through PPP mode.
Meanwhile, the Ministry officials are also seeking more autonomy for decision making in a bid to expedite projects.
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.
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.
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 to dedicate his life to social work rather than practicing law.
Gadkari studied M.Com, LLB and diploma in business management.