The BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde has once again expressed her disappointment with the organisation for forcing her to play secondary role. Yet, she has also indicated that she is not going to resort to any extreme step right now and will take right decision at appropriate time.
At the annual Bhagwan Bhakti Gad rally in district Beed, Pankaja did not mince words to vent her anger and unhappiness. But she exercised great caution not to directly name any central or state BJP leaders. Thus, keeping herself within the “laxman rekha” which she had in recent past repeatedly crossed.
As a result Pankaja has given her political rivals reason to question her continuation in BJP. Meanwhile, both Thackeray’s Sena and NCP have given an open-offer to Pankaja to join their organization, rather than face humiliation in BJP.
Daughter of late Gopinath Munde, Pankaja belongs to Vanjari community ( Denotified Tribe). The former minister in state BJP-Shiv Sena government had lost 2019 state assembly polls from her home constituency in Parli (Beed district). It came as a jolt andshe blamed BJP for her defeat at the hands of estranged cousin, Dhananjay Munde who is with NCP. She was hoping the party would offer her bigger role in state politics, instead, she was moved to Delhi as national secretary since 2020.
” I have started massive preparations for 2024 polls. If the party gives ticket, I will contest 2024 polls, ” she herself announced. At the same time, “I am not someone who will bow before anybody. I don’t hanker for power and post,” she added.
What am I today? I am not a minister or MLA, MP. Yet, “look at the mammoth crowd. Why have people gathered. What can I offer them? I have nothing to give them except dignity,” she asserted. Thus, trying to strike an emotive chord with the people who thronged to her public meeting.
While declaring she was not afraid of struggle, Pankaja exhorted her supporters to once again put their heart and soul for 2024 preparations. In a candid admission she said in 2019 assembly elections she lost and said that while appointments of eight MLCs and four MPs were done after that, she was never considered. Now, I have no complaints. But my supporters talk about it. And I have no answer.
Although she did not elaborate on it, she ensured the message was loud for one and all. At the same time she was quick to clarify, ” I am not unhappy.”
The subtle attack on party leaders throughout her speech was difficult to ignore. This was substantiated when she said in Hindi, ” Maana Ke Auro ke mukable kuch jyada paya nahi humne, Par kush hu ki khud girta sambhalta raha par kisi ko Giraya nahi maine…” (I admit I may not have achieved more compared to others, but I am glad I fall and rise …but haven’t pulled down others.)
Pankaja who has earned the tag of inhouse “rebel” was directing her ire against party for not considering her for bigger roles in state politics. It is no secret that Pankaja wants to work in Maharashtra. She was vying to become member of state legislative council and leader of Upper House. But state and crntre leaders refused to consider her candidature in state. Instead, she has been asked to focus on strengthening organisation in her own home pitch Parl, district Beed.
At some point she makes a point that the moto organisation above individual appeals to her. At the same time she mentions ” it s her goodness that has cost her …” ( Jarrorat se jyada imandar hu, isiliye sab ki nazar mein gunehgar hoon main..”
Although she has issued veiled warning to party to not test her patience, she stopped short of selling out her options outside BJP and she told her followers, ” I have embarked on 2024 preparations. We will show how we can create sea from drops of water.”
The state BJP leaders dismissed her speech as “nothing unusual.” A senior BJP office bearer said, “From her language it is clear she is not in mood to revolt, provided she gets chance to contest 2024 polls.” The political rhetoric is her style to enthuse her followers.
For instance she says, ” I know you think I will play Durga ( fiery) but I am not going to speak against any leader.” If we read between lines she is careful not to antagonize top leaders.