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Munde decides to stay in BJP

Speaking to the media, with party leader Sushma Swaraj standing by his side, Munde said that the news in the media about possibility of his joining the Congress was totally wrong and he had never met Congress leader Ahmed Patel. He also said that he did not discuss the possibility of leaving his party with the Maharashtra CM.

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2011 11:18 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

The crisis within the BJP seems have ended, at least for now. On Wednesday, sulking BJP leader Gopinath Munde dramatically announced after a meeting with Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj that he would stay with the party.

This came a day after speculations began about Munde being in touch with Congress leaders to switch sides.

After the meeting with Swaraj — which came after the latter's meeting with party patriarch LK Advani — he said, "Two days back, I had a meeting with top leaders of the BJP. I expressed my pain to them. Sushma ji was not there, so I came to meet her. I am with the BJP and will stay with the BJP."

He denied having met Congress leader Ahmed Patel or talked to Maharshtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, and also refused to share his discussions with the BJP brass.

Soon after, Swaraj met Advani to brief him about the progress, a turn of events seen as indicative of her central role in persuading Munde.

Swaraj also met Gadkari, after which she said the top brass of the BJP would meet on June 27 or 28 to discuss Munde's concerns. Later in the evening, Gadkari called Munde and told him that such controversies were not good for the party and that he would like to meet Munde personally in Mumbai to discuss the issues.

Munde wants more say in the BJP's Maharashtra affairs, and the party has till now sought to cap his rebellion. His supporters, however, say they are happy that he was heard out. A BJP leader said Munde had been assured the party would fight the Maharshtra LS and Vidhan Sabha polls under his guidance.

Meanwhile, Congress leader' Vilasrao Deshmukh is believed to have been uneasy over allowing an alternative Congress power-centre in Marathwada. Sources also claimed the Congress wanted him to quit BJP before offering anything.

First Published: Jun 22, 2011 16:16 IST