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Munde's return to BJP ends crisis in Maharashtra politics

New Delhi, Wed, 23 Apr 2008 NI Wire

Gopinath Munde, the Bhartiya Janata Party general secretary strongly came over the Maharashtra politics after the three puzzling days that seemingly divided the state politics into two groups and in a placating act extracted his resignation back on Tuesday.

The decision of withdrawing resignation came after Munde meet the top central BJP leadership comprising the Chief Opposition Leader L K Advani and pleaded to work selflessly for strengthening the party.

The quick resolution of the crisis can be attributed to the forthcoming state assembly elections and the Lok Sabha election next year. At this crucial stage of the politics BJP could not afford to lose such an influential leader Munde, often called the face of the party who not only have base among OBC community but also has enormous potential to reach out to other sections and obtain their favour.

The so-called three-day fray in BJP’s state unit after Munde’s resignation from all party’s organisational posts comprising general secretary eventually brought all the goods for him. He, not only successfully superseded all his adversaries but the incident also established his power and camaraderie within the entire state as all major city units like Pune, Mumbai, Nashik and Aurangabad expressed their solidarity for Munde and willingly pledged to work under his supervision. While there were very few who stood behind the Gadkari, the BJP state party chief.

Secondly, the political maverick Mundey also smartly got the blessings of BJP ally in the state Shiv Sena Chief, Bal Thackeray, who already was miffed over the Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari had openly criticised the Sena leadership and also wanted to finish the 20-year long ties with Shiv Sena.

Origin of the crisis

The crisis in Maharashtra politics came on the floor after Gopinath Munde tendered his resignation on April 20 in annoyance over appointment of Madhu Chavan a close confidant of Gadkari as Mumbai BJP chief, alleging the party was not functioning democratically.

The matter got worse once again after sixteen Corporators from Pune sent their unanimous resignation to the party president Rajnath Singh to convey their solidarity with general secretary Munde.

The logic for backing Chavan’s appointment was giving by his supporters on the regional basis, as Chavan is a Maharashtrian. As per the source, a national party like BJP cannot afford to play the regional card so overtly because it would convey the wrong impression within the entire country that the party has played into the hands of the Shiv Sena or the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which is not a good sign for the party’s political future.

Hardly a known face

Until appointment as the BJP Mumbai unit Madhu Chavan was hardly a known face in the state politics. The three days short fame directly elevated him from the state unit spokesperson to the significant post of Mumbai chief but eventually resulted into spoil and perhaps he would not like to recall these days in future.

Mumbai unit chief is a very significant post, especially in the wake of forthcoming elections. The sources in the party believe that the BJP has a strong support base among the traders and business community and appointment of a strong and capable leader as the Mumbai unit chief could serve the purpose well. This was the reason for Munde’s pitching for either former MP Kirit Somaiya or the MLA Prakash Mehta, who could well connect the party with these communities.

Settling of issue

To end further controversy and disagreement, the party in a balancing act picked the neutral face Gopal Shetty as Mumbai unit chief.

Earlier, before settling the account Munde had refused the central leadership’s call to come to the capital for resolving the issue. Instead of coming in person Munde had sent two MLAs on behalf of him to convey his point to the chief leadership. Lastly, after talking on phone Munde could not refuse his invitation further and reached the capital to discussion the matter.

Later, a compromise formula was worked out after which Munde made public his intention to withdraw the resignation. The party showed their faith in Munde, who was feeling sidelined after Mahajan’s death and promised him an important role in the state.

Read More: Mumbai | Nashik

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