BJP’s OBC face Pankaja Munde holds massive Dussehra rally in Maharashtra | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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BJP’s OBC face Pankaja Munde holds massive Dussehra rally in Maharashtra

Post the rally, there have been murmurs of how the BJP minister has had to battle with internal politics and sabotages in her three-year stint in power after her father’s death.

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2017 09:12 IST
HT Correspondent
Pankaja was denied permission to hold the rally by the Mahant (priest) of the Bhagwangad trust, Namdeo Shashtri, a former close associate of Munde.
Pankaja was denied permission to hold the rally by the Mahant (priest) of the Bhagwangad trust, Namdeo Shashtri, a former close associate of Munde.(File)

Facing attempts to corner her on her home turf, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Other Backward Class (OBC) face and daughter of late leader Gopinath Munde, Pankaja has put up a show of strength. Her supporters organised a massive rally in Beed district of Marathwada on Dusshera last week after she was denied permission to hold the rally at her usual place for years.

Post the rally, there have been murmurs of how the BJP minister has had to battle with internal politics and sabotages in her three-year stint in power after her father’s death. Her maternal uncle, Prakash Mahajan, brother of late Pramod Mahajan in an interview to a Marathi television channel, ABP Majha, expressed these concerns saying as in every party, there were struggles that Pankaja had to face in the BJP.

“In any party, if any young leader is coming up, there are four others who will pull them down. It’s happened with Pankaja, too. She has had to face struggles in her own party but the BJP should take note of the success of her rally.”

When HT contacted Mahajan, he said he no longer wished to speak on the issue.

But, Mahajan probably articulated the speculation that has been doing rounds within the BJP for long now.

For the first time in 15 years, after her father established a tradition of holding Dusshera rally at Bhagwangad in Ahmednagar, the pilgrimage site of the Vanjari community, this year the gathering had to be held in the neighbouring Beed district. Vanjari community is one of the major communities under the OBC and is politically influential in several parts of the state.

Pankaja was denied permission to hold the rally by the Mahant (priest) of the Bhagwangad trust, Namdeo Shashtri, a former close associate of Munde. She chose to hold the rally at the birth place of the saint in Savargaon in Beed district, her home turf and made it a big success. There have been speculations that Shastri has soft corner for Pankaja’s cousin and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Dhananjay Munde who heads the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council.

The BJP kept itself at an arm’s distance in the ongoing saga leading up to the change of venue with local administration and police refusing her permission to hold it at Bhagwangad. The tussle with the Mahant began post her father’s demise and is being seen as a legacy battle over leading the Vanjari community.

On her home turf of Beed district, she has faced a similar challenge from Dhananjay Munde.