Pankaja mulls future in BJP
The coming together of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress to form the government in Maharashtra has deepened the fissures within the BJP.
Pankaja Munde, former BJP MLA from Beed and daughter of the late Gopinath Munde, has sent out feelers to her supporters about an announcement on December 12 “after a period of introspection”. Her statement amidst indications that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is keen on inducting her into the the Shiv Sena has shaken up the BJP.“We have to decide on our future journey following the current political changes in Maharashtra,” Munde wrote on Facebook shortly after congratulating Uddhav Thackeray for forming the government.
“Many BJP leaders are thinking of joining the Shiv Sena. You will know in the next few days,” Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP and editor of party mouthpiece Saamna, told reporters here today.
Last week, former BJP leader Eknath Khadse told reporters that he was thinking of joining the Shiv Sena after being given a rough deal by his party.
According to sources here, both Munde and Khadse blame former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for their poor showing in the recent Assembly elections. While Fadnavis is said to have secretly worked for the victory of NCP candidate and Pankaja’s cousin Dhananjay Munde, he is said to have worked for the defeat of Khadse’s daughter Rohini at the hands of an Independent candidate. Pankaja’s supporters told reporters in Beed today that at least 12 sitting BJP MLAs from the district are likely to resign and contest as Shiv Sena’s candidates.
Stunned by her moves, the BJP’s senior leaders are attempting to mollify Pankaja. “Just because Pankaja Munde and her family are close to Uddhav Thackeray does not mean she is joining the Shiv Sena,” state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said. He further added that the party leadership was in touch Munde and holding talks with her.