Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde said on Sunday that he will not bow before anyone in the political arena.
Munde’s statement is significant because he is currently indulged in a running battle with BJP national president, Nitin Gadkari to control the state unit of the party.
“I promise you I will continue with my struggle,” said Munde to his supporters at a function in the city to mark his birthday. Munde turned 61.
Leaders cutting across party lines attended the function. BJP veteran, LK Advani, Gadkari, Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh, Shiv Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray and state Nationalist Congress Party leaders, Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil showered Munde with praises.
Munde and Deshmukh, who come from same part of Marathwada, have been friends for more than three decades. Bhujbal and Munde are friends because of their similar agenda for other backward classes.
Though Munde avoided talking on the clashes within the BJP, Deshmukh made a direct reference to it. “Munde is struggling (in the party). He discussed his problems with me in private,” said Deshmukh.
But dispelling all rumours, Munde said he will never quit the party.
Bhujbal too vented his ire. “Some of our own people tried to create problems for us in the 2009 Parliamentary elections but then both my son Samir (from Nashik) and Munde (Beed) triumphed,” said Bhujbal.
Gadkari tried to buy peace with Munde. “Though I am the BJP president, I still consider Munde as my leader,” said Gadkari.
Advani credited Munde for making BJP a party of the aam admi (common man).
Critics said the function was Munde’s show of strength and warning to the party.
“After Pramod Mahajan’s (Munde’s brother in law) death, Munde’s fortunes have nose-dived. This is his attempt to show he is still a force to reckon with and hence he should not be taken for granted,” said a senior BJP leader, who did not want to be named.
Munde’s supporters mobilised cadres across the state for the occasion. The city was decorated with banners and hoarding wishing Munde.
A photo biography along with special supplements highlighting Munde’s achievements was released highlighting at the event.