‘Don’t put BJP in reverse gear’: Pankaja Munde targets Maharashtra leadership
BJP’s internal rebellion out in open as Munde and Khadse slam state leadership at Beed rally, state chief promises to resolve their grievances.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 17:21 IST
In an all guns blazing address at her rally in home turf of Beed in Maharashtra, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Pankaja Munde on Thursday gave voice to the internal dissent and uneasiness in the state party.
Even as she ruled out leaving the BJP, which she referred to as her “father’s party”, she rejected the membership of the core committee of the state unit and announced a state-wide rally to mobilise people under her leadership.
“I don’t want any post in the party. I don’t even want to be a member of the core committee. But, I will not leave the party, why should I? If the party wants me to leave, they are free to take such a decision,” Munde said at the rally held on the occasion of her father and senior BJP leader, late Gopinath Munde’s birth anniversary.
Announcing her future plans, she said, “I will open an office under Gopinath Munde Pratishtan in Mumbai on January 26, and hold a one-day fast in Aurangabad the next day. I’ll then start my state-wide rally to mobilise people. I am not a minister, not even a legislator but I will be in politics for people.”
Munde said that she would bring to the attention of the new government the plight of Marathwada region (Beed is part of it) and seek resolution to drought. “Don’t worry, the Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) is like my brother,” she said, indicating her close relations with the Thackeray family.
Several BJP leaders were present on the dias along with state chief Chandrakant Patil and senior BJP leaders Eknath Khadse, who also addressed the rally.
In her address, Munde lashed out at the state party leadership, targeting former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis without naming him.
“My father Gopinath Munde transformed the BJP from a party of the few to that of the masses, my request is that now don’t put it in reverse gear. Why are senior leaders like Khadse, who have given 40 years to the party, being pushed out of it? Who is unhappy about rise of OBC leaders?” she asked.
She also alleged that stories were maliciously planted against her whether it was about her chief ministerial ambitions in 2014 to more recently about her leaving the BJP or rebelling against it.
“I have no expectations from any one in the party so there is no question of being upset. Until the last day of campaign, I was campaigning for other BJP candidates to make Fadnavis the Chief Minister. I have lived my party’s slogan putting my nation and my party above me. About my defeat and how it happened, I can write a book on it another day,” said Munde.
Before her address, Khadse also slammed BJP leadership, specifically Fadnavis as he alleged that Pankaja’s electoral defeat was orchestrated by those within the party.
“I have been asked by my party not to speak against it. But, what is happening now is not acceptable. Why did you commit the sin of defeating Pankaja in her father Munde’s constituency? The way the party has been trying to oust me, who spent 40 years to build the party, is not fair,” said Khadse.
The fiery speeches forced Patil to promise that the party would resolve the complaints and grievances made by its leaders.
The state chief had held a meeting with Munde, Khadse and former minister Prakash Mehta before the rally to convince them to not speak against the party.
In his address, Patil said, “Party is not wrong, some people within it can be wrong. My request is to not use words that you will regret tomorrow when everything is resolved. Fights within the family can be resolved internally not through street fights.”