Updated: July 9, 2021 7:49:38 pm
BJP leader Pankaja Munde said Friday she was not upset with the party leadership for not including her younger sister and two-time MP from Beed Lok Sabha seat Pritam Munde into the Union Council of Ministers, but admitted latter’s name was in the reckoning.
Pankaja had maintained silence after the recent Union Cabinet expansion which had lead to talks that the former minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government was “upset” after her sister was left out of it.
Taking to media persons on the issue Friday, she said that a few days before the cabinet expansion a large number of supporters had sent her messages along with pictures of tickets booked for Delhi. “They were confident Pritam Munde would get a Cabinet berth. I had taken to Twitter to inform the followers that Pritam Munde has not received any call from Delhi. And we were in Mumbai,” Munde said.
Pankaja claimed that her sister was being considered for a Cabinet berth. “Pritam is a hardworking and loyal party worker. She won from Beed with a record margin. Not because she is Gopinath Munde’s daughter, but because she was a deserving candidate. The party is the ultimate truth. There is no question of me being upset,” she added.
The BJP national secretary, however, clarified that the party believed in collective work and stood for “nation first, party next, and self comes last”. In the BJP, “you cannot say me, me. It is we, we… Team Narendra, Team Devendra is not acceptable to the BJP. The party believes in collective work,” Munde told media persons at her Mumbai office.
Referring to the party’s decision to make Bhagwat Karad, a vanjara community leader from Aurangabad in the Marathwada region, a minister of state, Munde said, “My best wishes to all those who were made ministers. I have inherited the politics from my father late Gopinath Munde who was large-hearted and accommodating. In the past, the party gave me an opportunity after ascertaining my eligibility. Now, we have several new entrants. If they can help the organisation, it is welcome.”
Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, in an editorial Friday claimed that the move of inducting Bhagwat Karad, who it said grew in the shadow of Gopinath Munde, into the Union council of ministers was “aimed at finishing off the political career of Pankaja Munde”.
“I don’t think I am that big a leader that party will try to finish me,” Pankaja said while reacting to the editorial.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Chandrakant Patil had also rubbished reports of Pankaja’s unhappiness following the non-inclusion of her sister in the Modi Cabinet.
Pankaja, who had lost the 2019 Assembly polls from the Parli seat in Beed district, had blamed a section within the BJP of plotting against her defeat. Soon after the Assembly polls, she had held a public rally and launched a scathing attack on the state party leadership. She was later accommodated in the party’s central team.
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