The infighting in the state unit of the BJP worsened on Friday, when the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade criticised disgruntled party leader Pankaja Munde over her recent remarks about her defeat in the Assembly election from Parli seat in Beed district.
While addressing a rally at Gopinath Gad in Parli on the birth anniversary of her late father Gopinath Munde, Pankaja had raised the banner of revolt against former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. She had claimed there were deliberate attempts to malign her image and also blamed party leaders for her defeat.
Hitting back at Munde, Kakade said on Friday, “The statements made by Munde were very hurtful for genuine BJP workers. If she had turned her concerns for local issues into action in the last five years, then she would not have faced defeat… instead, she would have won by over one lakh votes.”
Pointing out that Munde was in charge of the Women and Child Development department in the Fadnavis-led state government for five years, he said, “All the concern she is showing for local issues and people now… she could have effectively implemented them in policies in the last five years. If she can’t handle her Assembly constituency, then what will she achieve by touring the state? There was no need to make such disturbing statements in public.”
Kakade claimed that Munde had ignored various communities in her constituency in the last five years and that’s why she was defeated. It was wrong on her part to blame other BJP leaders, said the Rajya Sabha MP.
“If one has strong control over one’s constituency and a strong connect with the public, then the person will not face electoral defeat. Her father had a good connect with the public and that was the reason for his success,” he said.
Expressing support for Fadnavis, Kakade said, “There seems to be a conspiracy to blame other leaders for the defeat… blackmailing the party to get some post is her strategy. No chief minister will like to see the party candidate get defeated in the elections”.
However, BJP’s Pune unit chief Madhuri Misal, who is a staunch supporter of Munde, condemned the remarks made by Kakade. “The remarks by Kakade against Munde are his personal views and have nothing to do with the party. I don’t find them worth responding to but I do condemn them,” she said.
The city BJP chief said this also raises concerns that some outside force was trying to split the party. “The way the new alliance has come to power, it seems there are some forces that are trying to engineer a split in the BJP,” said Misal.
Misal had also participated in the rally at Gopinath Gad in Parli. “I attend it every year and also did so on Thursday,” she said.