Maharashtra election 2019: BJP candidate Pankaja Munde trails in Parli against NCP’sDhananjay Munde
Maharashtra’s rural development minister and the BJP’s OBC face Pankaja Munde was on Thursday trailing against her cousin Dhananjay Munde of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the state’s Parli constituency.
Pankaja Munde is seeking her third term from Parli, a constituency that was once represented by her father and former Union minister Gopinath Munde. Dhananjay Munde is the son of Gopinath Munde’s elder brother Pandit Anna Munde.
She had won the last assembly polls by 25,895 votes over Dhananjay Munde in 2014. Pankaja rode the sympathy wave in 2014, after her father’s death in June that year.
Dhananjay, the Leader of opposition in the legislative council, had joined Sharad Pawar-led NCP in 2013 after a falling out with his uncle, Gopinath Munde, since he chose Pankaja as his political heir.
Elections in Parli, located in Beed district, are often fought over emotive issues related to Gopinath Munde’s legacy.
Though Pankaja and her younger sister and party MP Pritam have won elections, Dhananjay has control over local bodies. Both of them bank on votes of their Wanjari community, who are dominant in the constituency.
The BJP is hoping to retain the seat and the party’s focus through the campaign was on the ‘developmental works’ carried out in the area, including fast-tracking of the rail route network.
Pankaja Munde, who is also the minister for women and child welfare, however, was targeted by the Opposition for total ‘lack of development’ in the area.
However, dismissing the Opposition claim, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said the state government and Parli’s sitting MLA carried out more developmental works in the constituency over last five years than what the Congress- NCP could do during their 15-year rule.
The campaign for the October 21 elections had its share of controversies with with emotionally-charged speeches made by both the candidates. Pankaja Munde had reportedly called her cousin a “monster” on the last day of the bitter campaign and a case being filed against Dhananjay for alleged ‘obscene’ comments against his cousin.
Dhananjay Munde claimed the video clip, in which he was allegedly heard making the comments against Pankaja Munde, was doctored and fake. He said his remarks were “distorted” to project him as a “villain” by his rivals.