Gopinath Munde on Tuesday withdrew his resignation from the post of BJP general secretary after agreeing to a patch-up formula worked out by central party leaders, led by LK Advani himself.
A satisfied Munde called off his protest after a meeting in New Delhi with other Maharashtra leaders in the presence of Advani, who had swiftly intervened by calling him over to Delhi to contain the crisis.
Advani as well as BJP chief Rajnath Singh assured Munde he would never be made to feel slighted while his bete noire and BJP vice-president Bal Apte joined others in declaring that the next elections would be fought under his leadership in Maharashtra.
As Munde responded by announcing the withdrawal of his resignation outside Rajnath’s residence, Maharashtra BJP chief Nitin Gadkari cancelled the appointment of Madhu Chavan as chief of the Mumbai unit — which had triggered the crisis — and got Gopal Shetty in his place.
Munde’s problems were with Apte, who had been guiding Maharashtra leaders to make changes despite not being in charge of the state. Munde had resented that.
On arrival in the Capital, Munde first went to Advani’s residence, where he was closeted with the BJP prime ministerial nminee and Venkaiah Naidu, who played mediator. They were later joined by other leaders, including Gadkari.
“Pouring his heart out” on issues that were rankling him, Munde complained of lack of internal democracy in the party functioning and alleged that Apte and others were trying to isolate him after the death of Pramod Mahajan. Mahajan’s daughter Poonam and a dozen MLAs and eight MPs from Maharashtra were also present at the meeting.
After the meeting that lasted five hours, Munde and Gadkari drove in the same car to the party chief’s house to brief him and then address the media. Later, Rajnath told reporters “the issues in the Maharashtra unit have been sorted out amicably after proper consultations”.
Gadkari said: “Mundeji had some issues with a few decisions in the state unit. All concerns have been sorted out.. He enjoys the trust of the party and its workers.”
Gadkari conceded that Chavan’s appointment was a sore point, saying “more consultations would be held in the matter and a proper decision would be taken soon”.
Munde, for his part, said: “Advaniji told me it would have been better if the concerns had been conveyed to him before approaching the media on the issue. I agreed.” He added: “I have been with the BJP for 30 years and will stay in the party. I have never thought of joining any other platform.”
Taking a swipe at the BJP, the Congress said it reflected the party’s “exclusivist syndrome”.