MUMBAI: Maharashtra BJP leadership has expressed confidence of handling the “unease if any” within the party even as the disgruntled leader like Pankaja Munde and Eknath Khadse are likely to float a ‘social front’.
“Both Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde are senior leaders of the party and are deeply groomed in party ideology and hence they will not do anything detrimental to the party,” state BJP President Chandrakant Patil said here on Wednesday even as speculations were rife that the Munde-Khadse duo will launch a ‘social front’ comprising of prominent OBC castes like Mali, Dhangar, Vanjari, Banjara and Rajpoot.
Mali, Dhangar and Vanjari castes form the social base of the BJP in Maharashtra, which late leader like Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde had carefully nurtured under party’s “MaDhaV” program in 1980s. After the recent debacle of the party in the state, leaders from these castes within the BJP have come together saying that they are being discriminated against by the state party leadership. These leaders are likely to float a ‘social front’ on the occasion of birth anniversary of Gopinath Munde on Thursday, sources have said.
While Munde had skipped crucial party meetings over past few days, Khadse has met NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president and CM Uddhav Thackeray over past two days. This had led to speculations of him joining the NCP or the Shiv Sena. However, Khadse himself cleared air around the meetings and said, that the meetings were to pursue certain development-related work.
“I met Thackeray to pursue the proposal regarding memorial of Gopinath Munde at Aurangabad and I met Pawar regarding two irrigation projects that are slated to come up in my home district of Jalgaon,” Khadse said. He, however, didn’t comment on plans of social front.
The state BJP core committee met on Wednesday night to discuss issue related to Munde and Khase among others. Senior party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar had met Khadse before the core committee meeting.
“All the issues Khadse had raised were discussed at the meeting and amicable solution would be reached soon,” Mungantiwar had said after the meeting.
State BJP Patil too reiterated it today.
“Both Munde and Khadase are not new in the party. When Pankaja was young and did not know anything, she had seen Gopinathji (her late father Gopinath Munde) working with the RSS, BJP, and ABVP. After joining politics, Pankaja did not take much time to learn as she had received the basic training at her home,” Patil said while dismissing speculations that Munde might hurt the party’s prospects in certain social groups.
“She herself will clear the air in tomorrow’s meeting at Beed,” he added.
“In the case of Nathabhau (Eknath Khadse), he and late Gopinath Munde had expanded the BJP’s base in Maharashtra. I am confident that he will not do anything that is detrimental to the party. He wanted something to say and that has been heard. Necessary action will be taken,” Patil said.