By approving Pankaja Munde’s 3,000-km, state-wide ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ ahead of the assembly elections, the state unit of the BJP has finally anointed the 34-year-old as late Gopinath Munde’s political heir.
Pankaja has also dropped her marital name Palve, to emphasise on her attachment with her maiden name, which has an instant connect with the OBC votebank her father nurtured during his lifetime. “The purpose of the tour, named ‘Punha (one again) Sangharsh Yatra’, is to connect with rural masses who have been neglected in the 15 years of the Congress-NCP rule,” Pankaja told HT.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said Pankaja’s tour would be as historic as her father’s. “Her efforts will be boosted by national and state leaders, who will attend 66 rallies during the 14-day yatra.” Fadnavis, however, clarified the BJP’s stand on dynasty politics. “We are against those who claim positions by virtue of birth. But, we are all for children [of politicians] who are good politicians and contribute to society.”
The young heir’s tour is, in fact, similar to the one her father had undertaken in 1995, before the Congress was ousted from the state. “There is no denying that I have taken a cue from the historic tour my father had undertaken. Such initiatives leave a long-lasting impact and bring about the change everyone wants,” Pankaja said.