Addressing her supporters in Mumbai on Tuesday, BJP National Secretary Pankaja Munde asserted she was “not finished” and asked her followers not to do anything that would give “our opponents the upper hand”.
Munde also rejected the resignations of party workers that have been coming in ever since her sister Pritam Munde Khare was not given a Union cabinet berth. The cabinet seat went to another OBC face in Maharashtra BJP, Bhagwat Karad, triggering discontent in the Munde camp.
“I am not finished. I am very much here. I draw my strength from the massive support and faith reposed by my followers in me,” Munde said. Pointing at the gathering of partyworkers from Beed, Ahmednagar and Pathardi, Munde said, “I am not doing any pressure tactic nor show of strength. If I had to show my might, it would require a much larger space. It cannot be accommodated in this pandal.”
Declaring that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah were her leaders, Munde said, “I hope they will be in the know of my pain and problems. The central leaders have treated me with respect.”
Munde was in New Delhi Sunday to participate in the meeting convened by PM Modi, and also met BJP president JP Nadda. Maintaining that she had apprised Nadda of the spate of resignations by her supporters, Munde said, ” The central leader was confident that I would pacify the hurt supporters.”
In a veiled attack at former Maharashtra chief minister and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis, Munde said, “I am not helpless, nor insecure. I am not someone who would beg for party post and ministerial berths. These are inconsequential. After the sudden demise of late Gopinath Munde (her father), I undertook a sangharsh yatra, with the single objective of helping BJP and ensuring its chief minister. My karyakartas are my strength. I don’t require ornamental posts to retain my hold in the organisation.”
The partyworkers who came to Mumbai Tuesday said they wanted justice for the Munde sisters. Balasaheb Sanap, a Beed office-bearer who resigned, said, “Gopinath Munde had played an important role in building the party organisation. The BJP had tried to underestimate his contribution, but he fought back. Now, the party is trying to do injustice to Pankaja and Pritam Munde.”
Beed district president Rajendra Mhaske said around 105 BJP workers have resigned so far.
“From Beed district alone, 14 district zilla parishad members, 35 panchayat samiti members, 16 market committee members, and 11 mandal committee members have offered resignations,” he said.
Another Munde supporter, Nagnath Kharade from Pathardi, pointed out that before Pritam was overlooked for the Cabinet post, Pankaja had not been made a member of the state legislative council. “We came here to show our support. We will accept whatever decision Pankaja takes,” he said.