Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde suffered a serious political setback on Monday, after an independent candidate backed by his rebellious nephew Dhananjay Munde beat the BJP nominee in the election for the Parli municipal council president.
BJP candidate Jugal Kishore Lohiya had managed to bag just six votes against Deepak Deshmukh, who bagged 24 votes, including 11 from the BJP.
For Munde, this was a serious blow. The man who had held sway over the state BJP for over three decades alongwith brother-in-law Pramod Mahajan, became increasingly alienated with the emergence of leaders like Nitin Gadkari, with whom he is at loggerheads.
The week-long dispute within the family saw the younger Munde pushing his own candidate for the post. The senior Munde had decided to back Lohiya, the former president.
Dhanajay, who had nurtured his uncle's home constituency in Beed district, had been complaining increasingly about being sidelined by him. Finally, with his own support base in Parli, he decided to begin a confrontation. The NCP and the Congress had fanned the fire, offering him support.
"My uncle is still my idol," Dhananjay said after the elections. "I had decided to have my candidate to put in place the people who were trying to create differences in my family."
The senior Munde, meanwhile, said he was betrayed by his own people and parties like the NCP.