After a rebellion attempt which evoked no response from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership, a mellowed Gopinath Munde is now trying to reclaim his space in Maharashtra politics by undertaking a statewide tour.
Munde is meeting party cadres and holding public meetings across the state. “I am just doing my bit to strengthen the party,” Munde said.
At a meeting of BJP workers at Sangli on Sunday, Munde attacked home minister RR Patil and demanded his resignation for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and rising crime against women.
“Patil should resign from his post. The law and order position in the state has collapsed and any minister who cannot tame criminals should resign,” Munde said.
There have been a slew of crime cases in the state including the murder of journalist J Dey and the gangrape of two women in Akole village in Ahmednagar by dacoits.
Apart from Sangli, Munde has so far held meetings in Kolhapur, Jalna and Ahmednagar. The statewide tour is an attempt by Munde to reach out to party workers who are unhappy with his attempts to arm-twist the party high command.
A disgruntled Munde, unhappy over being sidelined by party president Nitin Gadkari in the party’s decision-making process, had set alarm bells ringing within the BJP when he began meeting non-BJP leaders in early June.
There were indications that Munde was to join the Congress. However, the deal failed. The BJP leadership too has not gone out of its way to pacify Munde with Gadkari unwilling to heed to Munde’s demand for a greater say in running the party in Maharashtra.