Munde wanted to join Congress but Manmohan stopped him: Ajit Pawar

He said, "Manmohan Singh opined that it was not wise to split the party (BJP) in such a manner and did not induct Munde in Congress."

Published: 07th February 2017 08:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2017 08:37 PM   |  A+A-

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. | PTI File Photo

By PTI

MUMBAI: Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar today claimed the BJP stalwart late Gopinath Munde wanted to cross over to the Congress along with his party MLAs, but his plan couldn't take off as then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advised him against engineering "split" in BJP.
    
"Munde, who was the Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha then, was ready to quit BJP and join Congress, along with legislators like Pasha Patel, Madhuri Misal, Prakash Shendge, Pankaja Munde (Munde's daughter) who too were ready to quit (BJP)," the former deputy chief minister who is nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar told a news channel.
    
He said, "Manmohan Singh opined that it was not wise to split the party (BJP) in such a manner and did not induct Munde in Congress."
    
Munde, a BJP MP from Beed and former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra during the first stint of Sena-BJP government in 1995-1999, was appointed as Deputy Leader of Lower House in 2009 in place of Sushma Swaraj who was elevated as Leader of Opposition.
    
"Sushma Swaraj also persuaded Munde from leaving the party," the NCP politician said, adding the BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis (current chief minister), Vinod Tawde and Sudhir Mungantiwar worked to ensure no MLA quit the party with Munde.
    
Munde was the architect of OBC base of BJP as well as the rainbow alliance with Shiv Sena and three smaller parties ahead of the 2014 polls.
    
He had briefly resigned from all organisational posts of BJP in 2008 over the appointment of key functionaries of BJP's Mumbai unit by the party's central leadership.
    
Munde met with a road accident on June 3, 2014, while on his way to Delhi airport and died at AIIMS Hospital on the same day.
    
Meanwhile, referring to Munde's nephew Dhananjay Munde and the latter's father late Pandit Anna Munde, Ajit said he had persuaded the duo against snapping ties with Gopinath Munde.
    
"A year later, they met me again and expressed their wish to join NCP. Dhananjay Munde had told me that he didn't want to stay with BJP. He said the doors of other parties were open to him if he was not inducted in NCP," Ajit added.
    
Pandit Anna had eventually joined the Sharad Pawar-led party in 2012 whereas Dhananjay, also in NCP, is currently the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council.

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