PUNE: BJP's associate Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade on Friday hit out at the saffron party's leader Pankaja Munde and said she was indulging in "blackmailing attempt" by blaming "others" for her defeat in the October Assembly polls in Maharashtra.
Addressing a rally in Beed district on the occasion of the birth anniversary of her father Gopinath Munde on Thursday, the former minister had said she was not unhappy with her party, but went on to add that the BJP was free to decide on her continuance in the party.
Pankaja Munde also referred to insinuations that she lost the Parli Assembly seat in Beed district to her cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde because "some BJP leaders" didn't want her to win.
"She is trying to put the blame of her defeat on someone else's head and trying to gain something from the party.
"There is an attempt to blackmail the party to gain something," Kakade alleged, adding Pankaja Munde's statements had pained BJP workers.
"She spoke many things yesterday. Instead of speaking now, had she brought these into action in the last five years, she would have won by one lakh votes," he said.
Kakade said Munde had, during her speech, announced she would tour Maharashtra to expand the BJP's base.
Taking a swipe at the statement, Kakade said, "But the question is, if you could not handle your own constituency, despite being in charge of important portfolios in the last five years, what are you going to achieve now."
The Rajya Sabha MP said a person, who could not even retain her seat, should not make statements of "expanding the party's base".
Kakade hit out at Munde, claiming people from Maratha and Muslim communities faced hardship and Dalits were neglected in her constituency in the last five years.
"As all the communities were neglected in five years, there was resentment which led to her defeat," Kakade claimed.
Asked whether the rally was organised to target former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Kakade said blaming others indirectly or directly for the defeat was improper.
Kakade said Fadnavis wanted to return to power and would not have wanted any of his MLAs or candidates to be defeated.
"Gopinath Munde never faced defeat because he was connected to the people. But in the case of Pankaja, she neglected her constituency, played caste politics and that is why she was defeated," he added.
The Member of Parliament went on to state that "to blackmail the party and gain something is an old trick".
Kakade hit out at Munde for her announcement that she would sit on a one-day symbolic hunger strike to attract attention of the leadership to issues of Marathwada, an impoverished region of which Parli is a part.
"You were minister for five years, why didn't you resolve the water issue (in the parched region). Why are you now talking about Marathwada? Why are you talking about other communities," he questioned.
Another BJP leader, Eknath Khadse, who had also addressed the Beed rally, had targeted Fadnavis.
Khadse had said, "There were efforts to ensure Pankaja lost the election. It is my clear opinion that she did not lose the election, but it was planned and executed (by some others in the party)."
In the past, Khadse, a former minister and prominent OBC leader, had alleged conspiracy behind the election defeat of his daughter Rohini (from Muktainagar in Jalgaon district) and Pankaja Munde.