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Munde quits, but BJP won’t let go

The BJP leader said he was upset with party’s functioning and decision-making. However, BJP president Rajnath Singh has not accepted the resignation.
Hindustan Times | By Satyajit Joshi, Rajendra Aklekar and Shekhar Iyer, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 21, 2008 01:08 AM IST

The Maharashtra BJP plunged into crisis on Sunday with general secretary Gopinath Munde resigning from all party posts. He said he was upset at the party’s functioning and decision-making.

Munde sent his resignation to BJP president Rajnath Singh. Singh told reporters in the Capital the resignation has not been accepted. Arun Jaitley said: “We haven’t received any resignation. Even if we receive one, there’s no question of accepting it. Differences, if any, will be sorted out.”

Munde told reporters he’d continue to work as a “common BJP worker” and plans to take district-wise tours across the state to understand the sentiments of party workers. Sources close to him said he was upset at the appointment of Madhu Chavan as Mumbai party president. He had preferred a Gujarati leadership, which would’ve brought in Gujarati votes as the alliance with the Shiv Sena already ensured Maharastrian votes.

Following Munde’s resignation, there’s been a spate of resignations, prominent among them being Poonam Mahajan.

According to BJP insiders, Munde had been cut up with the high command for sometime and Chavan’s appointment was the last straw.

Some BJP leaders thought the party had to emerge out of the Mahajan shadow by encouraging others. A similar argument was advanced for appointing Chavan, the choice of Munde’s bete noire Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari has accused of Munde of lording over the state BJP with the help of the late Pramod Mahajan for 20 years and “it is time for a change”.

BJP leaders say Munde may float his own party or a front for the next assembly polls. They don’t rule out his leaving to form an OBC front with NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal.

Munde was also the BJP’s in-charge in poll-bound Rajasthan. The BJP chief and other leaders were reportedly not too happy with his handling of affairs there. Munde, for his part, believes he is a mass leader but has not been used suitably.

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