More than a month after being snubbed during BJP’s recent organisational reshuffle, party national secretary Pankaja Munde made a fervent appeal to her supporters to join her in taking a pledge on December 12, the birth anniversary of her late father and former Union minister Gopinath Munde.
The announcement has kept the state BJP leaders guessing as Pankaja kept the details of the pledge under wraps.
Pankaja has been sulking as the BJP central leadership did not elevate her to the post of general secretary in the organisational reshuffle held last month. BJP president J P Nadda had instead elevated Vinod Tawde, another prominent Maharashtra leader, to the national general secretary, an important post in the organisation. The developments had irked Pankaja who publicly said, ” I am not going to beg for posts before anybody. I’d rather bow in reverence before a beggar.”
After a month-long silence, Pankaja has again created a flutter with a letter to her supporters.
In the letter, which she penned in Marathi using red ink, Pankaja wrote:” Three days are of special importance to us. December 12, June 3 and Dusshera. On these three days, all of you ( her followers) uninvited come to Bhagwangad.”
While December 12 is Gopinath Munde’s birth anniversary, June 3 is his death anniversary. Dusshera is also significant as the late Gopinath Munde had started an annual rally at Bhagwandag, a religious pilgrimage centre in Beed district in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. After Gopinath Munde’s death, his eldest daughter Pankaja started addressing the annual Dusshera rally at Bhagwangad.
In the letter, Pankaja wrote, ” On December 12, we will take a pledge. Will you fulfill the pledge?”
However, she did not disclose what the pledge would be, keeping both state party leadership and her followers guessing.
A senior BJP state functionary said, ” An appeal to the followers is a tactic to mobilise crowd for the December 12 event.
When you keep someone guessing it raises curiosity and becomes a talking point. Since Pankaja is a national secretary she is unlikely to do anything which goes against organisation. But If she speaks or does something against party norms it will not be tolerated.”
From what is evident she must be appealing followers to unite and fight for the rights of OBC reservation in local bodies, he added.
Sources in the BJP also pointed that Pankaja’s “blow hot, blow cold” temperament is known to the party.
Her sister Pritam Munde Khade, a two-term Lok Sabha MP, being overlooked for a cabinet berth also reportedly upset Pankaja. It had set in motion a spate of resignations from her followers at grassroots in gram panchayats and zilla parishads local bodies. However, after Nadda’s directives, she convened a public meeting and urged her supporters to withdraw the resignations.
Earlier, Pankaja held the state leadership responsible for her defeat in Parli constituency in Beed district in the 2019 assembly polls.
Pankaja was also hoping of being chosen as the Opposition leader in the state legislative council post. However, BJP appointed Praveen Darekar for the coveted post.