Munde quits BJP posts, says no democracy in party

April 20th, 2008 - 10:05 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead, Changing dateline)

Mumbai/Aurangabad, April 20 (IANS) Gopinath Munde Sunday resigned as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary, protesting what he termed as a lack of internal democracy in the party. “I have quit all the party posts including that of national general secretary and Maharashtra unit executive committee member as I have come to a painful conclusion that the party is not being run on democratic lines,” Munde told reporters at the Aurangabad airport after returning from Mumbai.

“The party decisions, whether in Mumbai or New Delhi, are taken by two or three persons in the kitchen-cabinet fashion, and this will not augur well for the party,” the former Maharashtra deputy chief minister added.

Seen as the face of the party in the state, Munde was apparently sore over the appointment of legislative committee member Madhu Chavan as the party’s Mumbai unit chief after the incumbent Prakash Mehta completed his term. Munde had stoutly opposed Madhu Chavan’s appointment.

Denying any personal differences with any one in the party or his opposition to any individual appointment, Munde said he presumed thousands of party workers in Maharashtra shared his feelings. He would tour the state to strike a dialogue with them on this issue, Munde added.

A senior party functionary confirmed to IANS that Munde was strongly opposed to Chavan’s appointment.

“The appointment was held up for six months because of Munde’s opposition and finally came through after senior-most party leaders - Rajnath Singh (president) and L.K. Advani - cleared it endorsing the decision of the three-member committee of Ram Naik, Vedprakash Goel and Bal Apte,” the source said.

The party functionary added that Munde himself had suggested the names of the panellists and that they sounded out over 80 party office bearers in Mumbai before upholding the appointment made by party state unit president Nitin Gadkari.

Asked whether Munde had any other name in the mind or the reasons for his opposition to Chavan’s name, the source said Munde did not spell out anything.

In Delhi, party spokesperson Arun Jaitley told mediapersons in the evening that Munde’s resignation had not reached the party headquarters and that it would not be accepted in any case even after it did.

“The issue will be sorted out,” Jaitley said.

The senior party functionary in Maharashtra, however, discounted the possibility of any change in the decision regarding Chavan’s appointment.

Inheriting the mantle of his late brother-in-law Pramod Mahajan, Munde, who hails from Marathwada’s backward community, is recognized as the only party leader in the state with a wide mass base.

His express resolve to tour the state to interact with party workers has, therefore, rattled the leaders preparing for the next elections.

Munde’s position over the issue of other backward classes (OBC) quota and particularly his participation in an OBC rally organized by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal last year had similarly rattled the party leadership.

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