MUMBAI: Senior BJP leader Pankaja Munde, who is sulking after her defeat in assembly polls and led to speculation over her social media post last week, skipped an important party meeting at Aurangabad on Monday. She was said to be unwell.
Another disgruntled senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse met NCP Chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi. He had last week raised a rebellion saying that the state party unit is systematically scuttling down the OBC leadership within the party.
State BJP president Chandrakant Patil, who was at Aurangabad for the meeting, said Pankaja remained absent with a prior permission as she was unwell.
“I have spoken to Pankaja Munde before coming to Aurangabad for the meeting. She is unwell. Moreover, preparations are going on for the December 12 rally. Hence, she was permitted to skip today’s meeting,” Patil said.
He also said that he would meet Pankaja in her hometown Parli in Beed district after two days.
Meanwhile, The disgruntled senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who was in Delhi on Monday, called on NCP Chief Sharad Pawar at the later’s Janpath residence in the evening. Speculations are rife after the meeting as Khadse had publically said two days back that he will have to “think some other way” if the party continues to ignore him.
Khadse is upset with the party leadership after he was dropped from the state cabinet way back in 2016 over alleged charges of corruption. While his daughter-in-law Raksha was sent to Lok Sabha by the party, he was denied party ticket in the assembly elections in October. His daughter Rohini got the chances to contest the election, but she lost to Shiv Sena rebel in the constituency. Khadse had, since then, raised his pitch against the state party leadership.
“I was side-lined from the state party core committee. I was detached from the decision making process of the state party unit. If I’m being deliberately kept away what should I do? Some people have been insulting me consistently. If the same thing continues, I will have to think differently,” Khadse had said last week.
Senior OBC leaders within the BJP from across the state had gathered at his Mumbai residence last week.
“We don’t want to speak on caste lines. But, we feel it necessary to point out to the party leadership as to what is happening in the state party unit,” Khadse had said back then.
He had also met Pankaja Munde.
On this backdrop his meeting with Sharad Pawar today raised eyebrows.
When contacted, Khadse said, “I was in Delhi to discuss proposal of a medical college in my constituency Muktainagar in Jalgaon district and as is my practice, I met a few of my old acquaintances.”
“I also met senior party leaders like Bhupendra Yadav and told him what I had to tell. I shall meet other leaders also, if I get a chance to do so,” he added.