Munde`s nominee defeated in civic body poll

Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 15:46

Mumbai: Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde was
on Monday unable to overcome a tough challenge from within his own
clan, when the nominee fielded by his nephew Dhananjay Munde,
a BJP MLC, trounced the candidate fielded by the former deputy
chief minister.

Deepak Deshmukh, backed by Dhananjay, today won the
election to the chairmanship of Parli municipal council in
Marathwada region.

While Deshmukh polled 26 votes, Jugal Kishore Lohia, a
Gopinath Munde loyalist and BJP`s official nominee, polled
only six.

Today`s development has led to speculation in the state
political circles that Dhananjay may be on the way to join
NCP, against the backdrop of reports that NCP leader Ajit
Pawar played a role behind the scenes in Dhananjay`s
rebellion.

Reacting to the debacle, Gopinath Munde said the result
was not unexpected. "For me this election was a symbolic one.
It was said (by Dhananjay) that there was more faith in me
than in the God. I just wanted to test that," he said.

"We (BJP) had won a clear majority (in council polls) and
there was no need to seek cooperation of others. I want to
apologise to people of Parli that I could not retain that
success due to treachery of some people," he said.

"I cared for Dhananjay more than a son," said Munde, who
has three daughters, one of them a BJP MLA.

Maharashtra BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar said the
party had issued a whip to all party councillors to vote for
Lohiya. "We will act against those who violated the whip," he
said.

Dhananjay said his plea to field "anyone other than
Lohiya" was rejected by Munde and as such, he had no other
choice. Dhananjay Munde had refused to withdraw the rebel
candidate. The 32-member Parali municipal council has 17 BJP
members, while the Congress-NCP`s combined tally is 14, and
one member is independent.

Mungantiwar and leader of Opposition in the legislative
assembly, Eknath Khadse, tried to pacify Dhananjay, but to no
avail.

The Gopinath Munde camp feels that deputy chief minister
Ajit Pawar (NCP) was fuelling the Gopinath-Dhananjay Munde
spat. However, Ajit Pawar has denied the charge. "Dhananjay
Munde is not a baby," he said.

The tiff between Munde and Dhananjay began in 2009 when
the former`s daughter, Pankaja was fielded for the state
assembly election, ignoring the nephew`s claim.

Later, Dhananjay became a BJP member of the legislative
council.

Munde has been going through a rough patch in the BJP. He
was upset when a Nitin Gadkari loyalist was appointed chief of
Pune city BJP. Munde is also miffed over Vinod Tawde taking
over as leader of Opposition in the legislative council, from
his loyalist Pandurang Phundkar.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 15:30

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