BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde on Sunday praised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and welcomed the relief package announced by him for flood-hit farmers, but also sought more relief for them. “I congratulate and compliment the chief minister for announcing the relief package. At the same time, I request him to be more liberal and announce more relief for the affected farmers,” Munde said at the annual Dussehra rally at Bhagwangad in Beed district.
The rally is an annual event which was started by Munde’s father, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde. After his death in 2014, Munde has continued holding the rally at Bhagwangad.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Friday announced a relief package of Rs 10,000 crore, primarily for flood-hit farmers. The opposition BJP had criticised the package as an inadequate one, given the extent of the damage caused by heavy rain.
The BJP, however, downplayed Munde’s praise of the CM. “Though she has praised the CM, she, like the party, is unhappy with the small relief announced by him… and therefore has demanded more relief. The sentiments are the same,” said BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye.
Munde’s comments come days after an open offer was made by Shiv Sena leaders, urging her to join the party.
At the rally on Sunday, she said, “I had requested the chief minister to make Diwali sweeter for the flood-hit farmers by announcing a relief package. And I therefore compliment and welcome the relief package announced by him.”
Munde also said that at the height of the pandemic, Thackeray had called her up and “angrily” asked her why she was raising ruckus over the problems of sugarcane workers. “When I explained the issue to the CM, the government allowed the stranded cane growers to return home… the chief minister got angry with me… he does so as he is my elder brother. But he listened to me…,” she said.
Munde also said she will meet and speak to NCP chief Sharad Pawar about problems faced by state cane workers. “I am confident that he will solve their problems,” she said.
Munde didn’t mention either former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis or state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil during her speech.
NCP spokesperson Umesh Patil said, “The NCP chief has been praised even by the Prime Minister. Pawar saheb is an experienced leader and knows the problems faced by the people, farmers and worker in the state. I think her statement should be read in that context. But we welcome whatever she said.”
At the rally, Munde also revealed her desire to hold a rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. “This was Munde saheb’s dream. He had once said that he will hold a rally at Shivaji Park. Next year, I might hold the Dussehra rally at… Shivaji Park,” she said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines