BJP's Pankaja Munde on Tuesday gave the state unit core committee meeting a miss, claiming she needed time to oversee preparations for her public address in Gopinathgad in Beed on December 12. Pankaja, who has been holding a public rally every year on the birth anniversary of her father and former Union Minister, late Gopinath Munde remained absent from the division-level meetings of the BJP as well.
The BJP leader even missed the party's regional-level meeting held in Maharashtra's Aurangabad on Monday. However, BJP state president and Kothrud MLA Chandrakant Patil said she was "unwell" thus could not be a part of the meet. Munde skipped Tuesday's meeting of the state BJP core committee in Mumbai on the ground she was busy with preparations for her rally in Gopinathgad in Beed on December 12. "I have spoken to Pankaja Munde before coming to Aurangabad for the meeting. She is ill. Moreover, preparations are going on for the December 12 rally. She remained absent with prior permission," Patil told reporters.
After her defeat in the Maharashtra assembly polls, Munde, a Former Minister had stirred speculations of her departure from the party, after she removed "BJP" from her twitter bio. Political circles were abuzz since the first week of December when Pankaja wrote a Facebook post on her "future journey" in view of the changed political scenario in Maharashtra where the Shiv Sena in alliance with NCP and Congress formed a government. "I am not leaving the party. Defection is not in my blood," Pankaja told reporters.
The BJP leader was defeated by cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde from Parli in the October Assembly polls, and there has been speculation that she was unhappy with the BJP. As reports of her exit from the saffron party emerged, BJP's former ally Shiv Sena said that they would be happy to welcome Munde, if she chooses to join the ruling party in Maharashtra. Speaking to ANI, Shiv Sena leader Abdul Sattar said, "On December 12, Pankaja Munde will decide on where she will go next. If she joins Shiv Sena, we will happily welcome her. Late Gopinath ji and Balasaheb ji shared a cordial relationship in the past."
(With PTI inputs)