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Fadnavis tours areas hit by floods, Pankaja Munde keeps away

Updated on Oct 03, 2021 01:18 AM IST

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday began a tour of the districts affected by floods in Marathwada (central Maharashtra) to meet the affected farmers. The tour also came under focus as senior BJP leader Pankaja Munde kept away, citing health reasons.

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday began a tour of the districts affected by floods in Marathwada (central Maharashtra) to meet the affected farmers. The tour also came under focus as senior BJP leader Pankaja Munde kept away, citing health reasons. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
By, Mumbai

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday began a tour of the districts affected by floods in Marathwada (central Maharashtra) to meet the affected farmers. The tour also came under focus as senior BJP leader Pankaja Munde kept away, citing health reasons.

Eyebrows were raised in the political circles over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pankaja Munde’s conspicuous sulking from the scene when leader of opposition in legislative Assembly Fandavis and key party leaders are touring flood-affected central Maharashtra, the political home turf for the former. Munde has tweeted to announce that she is unwell and would not be able to take calls or meet in person for two to four days.

After beginning the tour from Washim in Vidarbha, Fadnavis is touring Hingoli and Nanded on Saturday and will visit other districts of central Maharashtra on Sunday.

Being a senior party leader from the region, Munde was expected to join the tour of the senior party leaders. She, however, avoided to join the tour reportedly to show her discontent. The leader is reportedly unhappy with the treatment meted out to her and her family over the past few years. More recently, Munde had openly expressed her anger against Fadnavis and Maharashtra unit chief of party Chandrakant Patil. She had indulged in a show of strength after her sister and Beed MP Pritam was not given a ministerial berth during the Modi government expansion in July this year.

Pankaja tweeted on Saturday, “Unwell..tonsillitis n blisters in my throat advised strict voice rest for 2 to 4 days ... can’t take calls or meet in person…(sic)”

“She believes that party’s state leaders like Fadnavis and Patil have been deliberately cutting her to size. She is under the impression that her defeat in 2019 Assembly polls was engineered by her rivals within the party. Other OBC leaders in the party are being given lift to undermine her importance despite she being the OBC face of the party. Denying the claim of her younger sister, party inducted Bhagwat Karad, another OBC leader from the region, as union minister and it had been like rubbing salt on the wound for Mundes. Karad was brought in politics by Pankaja’s father Gopinathji,” said a leader close to Pankaja.

Pankaja had kept away from an OBC rally convened by the party in Mumbai in July. She had led a show of strength and announced a Yatra in central Maharashtra as part of the revolt within the party after her defeat in Assembly poll. When asked about the buzz, Fadnavis said that the issue should not be politicised. “I will speak to her. She is not well and it could happen with anybody. I think nobody should give it a political colour,” he said. Political analyst Hemand Desai said, “Question here is if she was invited or intimated by a party about the tour, asking her to join. Pankaja is keeping away from the party activities of late. As a national secretary Pankaja is co-incharge of Madhya Pradesh for party activities, but she is hardly seen on national canvas”.

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