Mumbai: Sulking BJP leader Gopinath Munde
on Monday stayed away from a crucial meeting of party legislators,
convened by Maharashtra unit chief Sudhir Mungantiwar in the
backdrop of the OBC leader's "rebellion."
Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse, however, told
reporters after the meeting that he was confident that Munde
would not leave the party.
"I am confident Munde will never leave the party," he
told reporters at Vidhan Bhawan here.
Asked if a resolution was sought to be tabled at the
meeting, Khadse said the BJP state unit was "cohesive and
united" and despite Munde's recent moves "no such resolution
was brought in the meeting and neither is there a need for
Nana Patole, a Munde supporter MLA, said the message
inviting Munde for the meeting could not be conveyed. "When we
noticed this, we decided to meet Munde," he said.
Accordingly, senior leaders left for Munde's residence
in Worli after the meeting, he added.
There were also reports that only Khadse, a Munde
supporter, and Mungantiwar, said to be from the Nitin Gadkari
camp, spoke at the meeting.
The meeting followed speculation that after failing to
get his demands fulfilled by party leadership, Munde is on his
way to join the Congress.
Munde is reportedly disgruntled after BJP chief Nitin
Gadkari, once his junior in state unit, spurned the former's
demands to make him the Opposition leader in the State
Assembly and to make supporter Pandurang Phundkar the state
BJP president in place of Mungantiwar.
Munde supporters who attended the meeting include
legislators Pasha Patel, Raosaheb Danve, Prakash Shendge and
Munde's daughter Pankaja Palve and nephew Dhananjay Munde.
Earlier today, Mumbai BJP chief Raj Purohit met Munde
at his residence. There were also reports that Munde met his
long-time friend Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who also
stays in the same building as his, but there was no
confirmation from either side.
A section of media reported that during his three-day
stay in Delhi, Munde, a prominent OBC leader of the state,
established contact with Congress in-charge of Maharashtra
Mohan Prakash. However, Prakash has denied meeting Munde.
A leading Marathi TV channel last night aired what it
claimed was an exclusive report saying Munde will be offered
a Central ministerial berth by Congress if he joins it.
First Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 15:35