Known for his candid talk and forthright replies,BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha and Beed MP Gopinath Munde on Thursday said the party will not project any one person as its leader ahead of the 2014 elections but said the NDA will decide its leader unanimously at the appropriate time.
In a freewheeling conversation at Idea Exchange,organised by Loksatta ,the Marathi language newspaper of The Indian Express Group in Mumbai,Munde spoke on a range of political issues in the state,his own career and challenges before the BJP.
Admitting that he was not in the decision making section of the party,Munde-considering his lifelong association with the party- said the BJP would not project any one leader (or Prime Minister candidate) ahead of the 2014 elections.
Asked about the competition between leaders and sections promoting Gujrat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,Munde said: Unlike Atal Bihari Vajpayee,there is no obvious choice for the leader.There are seven-eight capable leaders and the party will take a decision adding my belief is that BJP will not announce anyone pre-poll. I think that NDA will be able to unanimously decide on its leader but it will not project anyone before the elections, he said.
Reflecting on state politics,Munde said that he always felt that the BJP and Sena should join hands with MNS to strengthen their position. He said that he was the first person to spell this thought out. I think that BJP-Sena should tie up with MNS. With the way things are going currently,it may well happen that way. We are not partying ways with the Sena and will be fighting the 2014 elections together. They may have some other opinion regarding Presidential election, said Munde,who was elected to the Parliament from Beed with the highest margin. He was the deputy chief minister during the Sena-BJP combine rule in Maharashtra between 1995 and 1999.
Speaking on his reported differences with BJP national president Nitin Gadkari,Munde said that there was no scope of differences as they did not have clashes for electoral constituencies. He added that while Gadkari largely grows in the organization,he was focused on the legislature and he would contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Whenever I spoke,it was regarding complaints about the system and not the persons, said Munde referring to his opposition to a certain appointment in the Mumbai unit of the party.
Known to have close ties with Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh and NCP leader Sharad Pawar,Munde said that leaders now did not share similar rapport across political spectrum. Earlier,there was no sense of opposition. Now,it is vindictive and there is a feeling that this person should be finished, he said.