Maha BJP meet inconclusive; Munde leaves for Delhi

Sulking BJP leader Gopinath Munde on Tuesday kept the party on tenterhooks about his next moves.

New Delhi/Mumbai: Sulking BJP leader
Gopinath Munde on Tuesday kept the party on tenterhooks about his
next moves with no respite in the talk that he could head
towards Congress.

Munde, who was in Mumbai today, left for Delhi this
evening after a crucial meeting of party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and
office-bearers from Maharashtra saw his supporters foiling a
bid to project a united face of the state unit.
The Deputy Leader of BJP in Lok Sabha told reporters
soon after the meeting that he was "still in BJP" and would
take a decision about his future course after consulting

The former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
however, gave vent to his unhappiness by saying, "I am
saddened by the happenings today. I did not get an invite for
the meeting even till its fag end."

Evading questions about his next move, Munde said, "I
will take a decision after the party leadership clears its

No concrete gains were made today in resolving the
differences between Munde and party president Nitin Gadkari,
BJP Central leaders merely said that the talks have been

The feeling at 9, Ashoka Road, the BJP headquarters is
that Munde may not leave the party. His detractors, however,
say that if he does finally do so, it would only be a stop-gap
plan to buy time.
Central leaders indicated that the party may agree to
Munde`s demand that the next elections in the state are held
under his charge and he has control over party affairs.

However, with Gadkari also hailing from Maharashtra, BJP
is not likely to give him more overwhelming powers and some
checks and balances will be put in place, sources said.

Asked about Munde`s status, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz
Hussain told reporters, "He has presented his views infront of
the Central leaders of the party... The talks with him have
been positive. Once the talks are completed, we will get back
to you."

A senior Congress leader, who declined to be
identified, felt that it was a "50-50" chance of the OBC
leader joining the ruling party.

An interesting development is that Maharashtra Chief
Minister Prithviraj Chavan has also left for Delhi apparently
to give the Congress high command the assessment over the
Munde issue.

Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is known to be
close to Munde whom the sulking leader had met last week, has
also arrived in Delhi to be at hand for possible

Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who also hails from
Marathwada region like Munde, had a meeting with Congress
President Sonia Gandhi today.

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Eknath
Khadse told reporters that he was confident Munde would not
leave the party. Asked about the botched effort to pass a
resolution saying the party was united, Khadse said there was
no need for such a resolution.

The 62-year-old leader is disgruntled apparently after
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 Sudhir Mungantiwar.

The crisis erupted recently over the appointment of a
Gadkari loyalist Vikas Mathkari to the post of BJP Pune Chief
in place of Yogesh Gogagawale, a Munde loyalist.


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