- Pankaja Munde talks about a changed political scenario in Maharashtra
- In her post, Ms Munde asked for "8-10 days to communicate with myself"
- She said she would return with an answer before December 12
BJP leader Pankaja Munde set off questions and a huge buzz after her party's name vanished from her Twitter bio this morning. Now it just reads: "Rt's are not endorsements". The change is significant a day after a Facebook post in which the former Maharashtra minister said she needed time to introspect after a "changed political scenario (in Maharashtra)". She asked for "8-10 days to communicate with myself" and said she would return with an answer before December 12, the 60th birth anniversary of her father - late senior BJP leader and Union Minister Gopinath Munde.
"Looking at the changed political scenario in the state, there is a need to think and decide the way ahead. I need time for some 8-10 days to communicate with myself," Pankaja Munde, 40, wrote on Sunday, adding that she had come to terms with her election defeat.
Ms Munde had remained active in Maharashtra BJP core committee meetings until the new government took charge last week.
"Our future journey needs to be decided against the backdrop of current political changes. What to do next? Which path to be taken? What can we give to people? What is our strength? What are expectations of people?" she wrote.
"I will think about all these aspects and come before you on December 12," she said, adding, "I have a lot to speak about". The last part suggested a show of strength.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and Ms Munde's cousin, party colleague Poonam Mahajan, have denied reports she will quit, calling such reports baseless.
"The BJP leaders are in touch with Pankaja Munde. She is introspecting after her defeat but it does not mean she is leaving the BJP," Mr Patil said, adding, "She may be having good family relations with Thackerays but it does not mean she is joining the Sena".
The party's spokesperson in the state, Shirish Boralkar, has also denied any rift.
"I have read the Facebook post of Pankaja Munde. This post nowhere conveys that she is not happy with the BJP," he was quoted by news agency PTI.
On November 28 Ms Munde tweeted a congratulatory message to Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray after he was sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister at the head of an unlikely alliance of the Sena, the Congress and the NCP.
"May God lead you to fulfill the dreams of the honorable Balasaheb's dreams and expectations of Marathi man!!" she wrote in Marathi, tagging Chief Minister Thackeray, his son and MLA Aaditya Thackeray and the Shiv Sena.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut played down rumours of a shock switch by Ms Munde to his party, saying "many leaders" were in touch. "As far as Pankaja Munde is concerned, we will have to wait for her to announce what she has in her mind," he said.
Ms Munde served as Minister of Rural and Women, Child Development in the previous Maharashtra government. She lost to her cousin, the NCP's Dhananjay Munde, by more than 30,000 votes in the Parli assembly seat in October's election.
The two were bitter rivals with tensions peaking shortly before polls; a video surfaced allegedly showing him making objectionable remarks against Ms Munde.
The BJP contested the state polls with the Sena, emerging as the single-largest with 105 MLAs; the Sena won 56. However, the alliance broke down over power-sharing talks. The BJP's attempts at government formation were outfoxed by the Sena, which allied with the NCP and the Congress.
With input from PTI