Former Maharashtra minister and BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde on Saturday said that she would meet Union home minister Amit Shah soon as she feels like he can be her “leader”. Pankaja, whose late father Gopinath Munde was a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and a Union minister, was speaking to a gathering in Parli tehsil of Beed district.
“I have sought time from Amit Shah. As my father is no more, I have found in him a leader worth following. I will meet him and pour my heart out,” she said. Pankaja served as the minister of rural development, women and child welfare in the BJP-Shiv Sena government between 2014 and 2019 when Devendra Fadnavis was the chief minister.
However, after losing to her estranged cousin and Nationalist Congress Party leader Dhananjay Munde in the 2019 assembly elections, she was rarely seen on the party’s stage. Some of her comments seemed to suggest that she was not happy with her party. “There are many well-wishers of me, even in other parties. But I am not going to cry every now and then. I did not shed tears even when I lost my father,” she said.
Gopinath Munde, a former deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, was appointed as the rural development minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he assumed office in 2014. He died in a road accident on June 3 of that year.
“If I have to make a decision about my future, I will call my supporters and openly declare it. I will not bow down before anyone or give up. I’ll ask my supporters not to get disheartened quickly and I will not change my stand,” she said.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra Congress president and leader of the legislative party Balasaheb Thorat said Pankaja could join his party. “The Congress doors are open for Pankaja tai. Others are also ready to welcome her,” he said.
Throat said one cannot deny that she is having a feeling of injustice being done to her. He added, “She is the daughter of late Gopinath Munde, who had excellent relations with everyone cutting across party lines. He contributed to BJP’s growth in Maharashtra. It is sad she is being sidelined.”