BJP ends Maharashtra crisis, Appoints new Mumbai chief

April 22nd, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi/Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday resolved its three-day-old organisational crisis in Maharashtra by sacrificing its Mumbai city president Madhu Chavan to appease legislative party leader Gopinath Munde, who had resigned from all party posts April 20. Chavan was appointed to this post by Maharashtra state BJP president Nitin Gadkari Sunday. Immediately thereafter, Munde announced his resignation from all party posts.

Soon after Munde had been reconciled to the BJP Tuesday afternoon, Gadkari said there was no doubt the party would contest the next elections under the leadership of Gopinath Munde.

About the fate of Chavan, Gadkari told reporters at the residence of BJP president Rajnath Singh: “A decision will be taken at the appropriate time after holding due consultations with all concerned.”

On his part, a chastened Munde acknowledged that Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani had expressed displeasure over his going public with his grievances.

Munde said: “Advaniji told me that before resigning I should have spoken to him. I respect his sentiments. But after this discussion I think the whole issue stands resolved.”

It took a determined and joint effort of top BJP leaders, including Advani, Singh and former president M. Venkaiah Naidu, to bring about a happy ending to the three-day-old crisis.

According to insiders, soon after Munde announced his resignations in Mumbai, the party high command commenced the fire-fighting operation by inviting all concerned to Delhi. Initially, Munde was reluctant to come but all the others, including Gadkari, former union minister Ram Naik and Munde’s supporters Eknath Khandse and Pandurang Phundkar, flew here to meet the Central leaders.

First they individually met Advani and Rajnath and then later “Naidu was given the responsibility to bring them together and resolve the crisis,” said BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar.

This morning when Munde arrived here, the scene of discussions shifted to Advani’s residence and all the leaders, led by Naidu, held series of meetings collectively and separately.

After the state leaders buried the hatchet, Naidu called up Rajnath and brought both the parties to his residence where they together announced the return to camraderie and bonhomie.

In Mumbai, with Munde having his way with the party leadership, Madhu Chavan was removed as Mumbai BJP chief barely two days after he was named to the post and legislator Gopal Shetty appointed in his place.

Shetty, 52, a first-time legislator from the Borivli, north-west Mumbai assembly constituency, has been a municipal corporator for 3 terms.

He enjoys a clean reputation in the party and continues to dwell in a modest chawl in the Borsapada settlement in LT Nagar slums in his constituency.

One of the senior-most party leaders enjoying a non-controversial image, Shetty is considered acceptable to a wide section of the party men in the city, particularly heavy weights like former central ministers Ram Naik, and Jaywantiben Mehta as also the party’s alliance partner Shiv Sena.

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