Gadkari, Rahul chat during R-Day parade

New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who had been in the news for seemingly calling on the BJP’s top brass to own responsibility for the losses in the recent Assembly polls, was seen chatting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi during the 70th Republic Day celebrations here on Saturday.

Seated in the front row, Gandhi and Gadkari were seen chatting and smiling while watching the grand parade.

Incidentally, Gandhi’s seating arrangement in previous year’s parade had created a controversy after he was allotted a seat in the sixth row. The Congress then had accused the Narendra Modi government of indulging in “cheap politics”.

A former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President, Gadkari had created a buzz with his remarks saying that the party leadership should own up to the defeat and failures, following the losses in the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

While he had claimed of being “misinterpreted” and “misquoted”, the remarks were perceived by many to be directed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

The remarks followed calls for replacing Modi with Gadkari.

While prominent Maharashtra farmer leader Kishore Tiwari had written to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) saying Modi must be replaced by Gadkari, veteran BJP leader Sanghpriya Gautam earlier in January demanded Gadkari be made the Deputy Prime Minister.