NCP leader and Gopinath Munde’s nephew, Dhananjay Munde, on Monday distanced himself entirely from the dramatic events of November 23, when the BJP had turned the tables on its rivals and brought back Devendra Fadnavis, thanks to support extended by Ajit Pawar.
Munde, formerly the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, was believed to have played a key role in aiding Ajit in the move to support the BJP and Fadnavis.
It must be noted that all the MLAs who had accompanied Ajit to the Raj Bhavan for the oath-taking ceremony have claimed that they had been asked to assemble at Munde’s official bungalow near Mantralaya in the early hours of the morning.
After Ajit’s political coup Munde had remained untraceable for hours before dramatically returning to the partyfold in the evening. On Monday, he tried to distance himself from the controversy. “My bungalow is an open house. At times it is like a bus stand,” said Munde.
Contending that the bungalow was widely used for party work, he further said that he “hadn’t taken calls till 1 pm that day” as he was “fast asleep”.
Munde was present in the NCP meeting on November 23, when party legislators adopted a resolution for the removal of Ajit as the legislative party leader. On Monday, Munde also claimed that he has “not been in touch with Ajit since the latter took a decision to join hands with the BJP”. On Monday, Munde had tweeted, “I’m with the party, I’m with (Sharad) Pawar saheb. Please don’t spread rumours.”
A popular leader from Marathwada, Dhananjay was earlier with the BJP. But after his uncle Gopinath Munde fielded his daughter Pankaja from Parli, a family stronghold, he left the BJP and joined the NCP. Last month, he defeated his cousin Pankaja, a former minister, in the Assembly polls.