Munde says no democracy in BJP, others try to placate him

April 20th, 2008 - 11:53 pm ICT by admin  


Aurangabad/New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Gopinath Munde, one of the top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, Sunday resigned as its national general secretary, alleging that the party “is not being run on democratic lines”. “I have quit all party posts including those 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.

Munde’s resignation came as a jolt for the party’s national leadership, which doubled back to placate him and hoped the crisis would blow over.

“Efforts are on to persuade him to reconsider his decision. It is any way the prerogative of party chief Rajnath Singh whether to accept the resignation or not. We hope Munde will certainly reconsider his decision,” a BJP source said in Delhi.

Seen as the face of the party in Maharashtra, Munde was apparently sore over the appointment of state legislative committee member Madhu Chavan as the party’s Mumbai unit chief in spite of his stiff opposition.

While denying personal differences with any one in the party or opposition to any individual appointment, Munde said he presumed thousands of the party workers in Maharashtra shared his feelings and added he would tour the state to have a dialogue with them.

A senior party functionary in the state confirmed to IANS that Munde was 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 a three-member committee of Ram Naik, Vedprakash Goel and Bal Apte,” the source said.

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

Another party insider said that while Munde was insisting on the name of MLA Raj Purohit for the post, the issue was not Munde’s preference but the feeling the senior party leader carried about Gadkari’s style of functioning.

“Munde is senior to Gadkari and has a much bigger clout in the state. Gadkari acknowledges this and shows due deference to Munde but has his own way of doing things which is perhaps not to the senior leader’s liking,” he added.

Munde is also nursing a grievance against the party’s central leadership for overlooking of his insistence on giving Rajya Sabha nomination to his late brother-on-law and BJP veteran Pramod Mahajan’s wife Rekha, the party insider said.

In Delhi, party spokesperson Arun Jaitley told mediapersons 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,” he said.

Crisis managers of the party including Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi got in touch with Munde immediately after the news of his putting in papers from all party posts reached here.

“The efforts are on to persuade him to reconsider his decision. It is any way the prerogative of party chief Rajnath Singh whether to accept the resignation or not. We hope Munde will certainly reconsider his decision,” a BJP source said.

Party vice-president Naqvi said no official resignation letter had yet been received from Munde. “The party has not yet got his resignation letter,” he said.

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

“Munde’s precipitate action over the small issue and his utterances to the media will send a wrong signal to the party workers and the people,” the source told IANS adding that his serious differences with Gadkari will now become public knowledge.

Inheriting the mantle of 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.

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 leader Chhagan Bhujbal last year had similarly rattled the party leadership.

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