Maharashtra BJP Meets Amid Dissent After Polls, Pankaja Munde MIA

The most pronounced voices of dissent were from senior leaders Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde, both of whom have expressed their displeasure with the way the party leadership handled the post-electoral scenario.

Maharashtra BJP's core committee held a meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Highlights

  • Maharashtra BJP met late Tuesday to discuss resentment within the party
  • Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde had expressed displeasure with leaders
  • "I am not going to join Sena, upset with 2 to 3 BJP leaders": Mr Khadse
Mumbai:

The BJP in Maharashtra held a meeting late on Tuesday night to discuss resentment within the party since it lost the power struggle in the state to the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance last month. The most pronounced voices of dissent were from senior leaders Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde, both of whom have expressed their displeasure with the way the party leadership handled the post-electoral scenario.

Pankaja Munde, who will address a rally tomorrow to announce her next move, skipped the meeting, but the BJP claimed she had taken permission to do so.

Hours before the meeting, Mr Khadse had met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. He had warned recently that he would not be averse to taking a drastic step unless he was made privy to the party's decisions. "I'm a human being with emotions, not God. I'm still ready to work for the party that I have worked hard to grow for four decades, but if I continue to face the humiliation of being kept away from the decision-making process, I will have to change my thought process," he had said.

But after meeting with Mr Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief, Mr Khadse told reporters: "I am not going to join Shiv Sena. I am not upset with BJP, I am just upset with two-three leaders of the BJP."

Last week, the senior leader had indirectly blamed former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the BJP's "less-than-satisfactory" performance in the elections and accused certain party colleagues for the defeat of his daughter, Rohini, from Muktainagar. Mr Khadse's disgruntlement is a cause of concern for the party, given that he is a prominent leader from the Other Backward Classes community.

"We decided to hold discussions with Eknath Khadse, his concerns will be addressed. Khadse has submitted some evidence (alleging BJP workers worked against the party in elections), whoever has worked against the party will be expelled,'' said BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar after the party meeting.

Pankaja Munde was hit hard by the loss to her cousin - NCP politician Dhananjay Munde - in Maharashtra's Parli constituency, and she never got over it in the days that followed. She even removed a reference to the BJP from her Twitter bio earlier this month, a day after saying that she needed to introspect in the light of a "changed political scenario" in Maharashtra, creating a flutter in party circles.

Ms Munde said she would take "eight to ten days to communicate" with herself, adding that she would decide on her future plans before the 60th birth anniversary of her father -- late BJP leader Gopinath Munde -- on Wednesday. She is expected to make a crucial announcement in this regard at a rally in Beed.

The concerns grew after Ms Munde, a member of the Maharashtra BJP's core committee, stayed away from the party's regional-level meeting in Aurangabad on Monday. State party president Chandrakant Patil explained away her absence by saying that she was unwell.

The BJP was unable to form its government in Maharashtra after a disagreement with its former ally, the Shiv Sena, over sharing the Chief Minister's post on a rotational basis. A miffed Sena then went on to form an alliance with the NCP-Congress combine, culminating in party chief Uddhav Thackeray taking oath as the Chief Minister late last month.

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