With BJP president Nitin Gadkari failing to make it to Delhi from Uttarakhand for a much anticipated meeting with Gopinath Munde, the BJP's sulking deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, the party’s latest crisis is far from over.
Munde ended up meeting M Venkaiah Naidu, who oversees party matters in Maharashtra. Naidu insisted after the meeting that the crisis would blow over. BJP leader Ananth Kumar and key Maharashtra leaders were also present at the meeting. Munde is now expected to meet Gadkari and LK Advani here on Sunday.
Munde, who is believed to have had troubled relations with Gadkari in Maharashtra for several years, recently took umbrage at Vilas Mathkari, considered close to Gadkari, being made the Pune party chief instead of his candidate, Yogesh Gogawale.
This apart, sources said Munde wants to be given charge of the party’s affairs in Maharashtra, with overarching powers. Munde is known to have been in touch with leaders from other parties. They include Vilasrao Deshmukh of the Congress, Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP and Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena, sparking speculation that Munde was planning to quit the BJP.
Munde, however, said, "It is not right to pose this question."
Naidu said after meeting Munde on Saturday evening that things were on track. "Certain problems have cropped up in Maharashtra in recent days. We have had a frank discussion. We understood his concerns. We have come to certain conclusions and will discuss matters with Gadkari ji and Advani ji tomorrow and then decide. I am confident we will find a solution."
Munde said earlier in the day, "I will place the people's concerns before the party's top leaders and hope they will give me justice."