‘Why should I leave BJP? If party wants me out, it can decide’: Pankaja Munde
The BJP in Maharashtra is grappling with internal feud where Munde, the party’s Other Backward Class (OBC) leader, has made her unhappiness with the functioning of state unit clear.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 16:03 IST
BJP leader Pankaja Munde spoke out at a much-watched event to commemorate her father Gopinath Munde’s birth anniversary on Thursday to outline her future in the party and beyond. “I will not leave the party,” she told her supporters who had gathered at Beed, 380 km from capital Mumbai. “But if the party wanted her out,” she continued, “it can take the decision.”
The BJP in Maharashtra is grappling with internal feud where Munde, the party’s Other Backward Class (OBC) leader, has made her unhappiness with the functioning of state unit clear.
“I will hold day-long hunger strike in Aurangabad on 27 January, 2020. This will be not against any party or individuals. It will be a symbolic hunger strike to attract the attention of the leadership towards the issue of Marathwada,” she said at the rally.
“I don’t want any post in the party, don’t want to be a member of the core committee.
But, I will not leave the party, why should I? If the party wants to leave me (out), it can take the decision. I will bring people together under the platform of Gopinath Munde Pratishthan. I will tour the state from January,” said Munde in the presence of Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
“My father Gopinath Munde transformed the BJP from a party of few to that of the masses, my request is don’t put the party in reverse gear now,” she added.
Munde has been unhappy since her electoral defeat in state assembly polls at the hands of her rival and cousin Dhananjay Munde. While she has accepted that the defeat was her responsibility, those close to her have echoed that her fall was orchestrated by those within the party. The finger has been indirectly pointed at former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who shares a good rapport with Dhananjay.
Munde, the daughter of senior BJP leader, late Gopinath Munde, has inherited his political constituency - a large following of the Vanjari community besides other OBCs. She had recently alleged in an interview that Dhananjay got help and support though “government was ours”.
“Tickets were not denied in Delhi, but here in Maharashtra. Whatever the party’s performance has been, Devendra Fadnavis should take the responsibility,” she said. In the October 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP denied tickets to then state ministers Vinod Tawde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule. Former ministers Prakash Mehta and Eknath Khadse also did not get tickets.
“Had there been two candidates against me, I would not have lost the election,” she added.
The BJP, which had won 122 out of 288 seats in 2014 Assembly elections on its own, could win only 105 seats in alliance with the Shiv Sena this time, and lost power when the Sena walked away to join hands with the Congress and NCP.