With Gopinath Munde’s elder daughter Pankaja contesting the assembly polls from Parli, her sister Pritam’s bid to contest from her father’s Lok Sabha constituency Beed is in jeopardy since BJP doesn’t want to give two seats to the same family
There is trouble brewing inside the Bharatiya Janata Party over who to field from the Beed Lok Sabha constituency in the by-polls, after the death of MP Gopinath Munde.
BJP leaders say if the party gives in to Pankaja Munde’s demand to field her sister Pritam (right) from the Beed Lok Sabha seat, apart from her contesting from Parli, her popularity will rise further. File pics
While it had been earlier reported that Munde’s second daughter Pritam would launch a bid to take her father’s place, those plans are now in jeopardy since her sister is also planning to contest the assembly polls. And, the party doesn’t wish to give away two seats to members of the same family.
Pankaja, who concluded her ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ on Thursday, had unofficially declared that it would be Pritam, not she, to contest the parliamentary seat. However, senior BJP leaders say that apart from the hesitance to give away two seats, Pritam’s inexperience also goes against her. Pankaja, having chosen to stay within state politics, will contest from the Parli assembly constituency, of which she is the incumbent MLA.
Not all in the family
A senior party leader said, “It will set a bad example if the party gives both assembly as well as Lok Sabha seats to a single family. When Mundeji was alive, he could manage it and no one would have dared to question him, but that is not the case now.” Before commencing her yatra last month, Pankaja and Pritam even attended meetings together and the former had asked the party leaders in Beed to support her.
Another leader puts it like this, “Before the yatra itself, some top leaders were sceptical that this (yatra) would cause Pankaja’s popularity to shoot up and there has been a good response throughout her tour; even Amit Shah came for the closing ceremony.
Now, local leaders fear that if all her demands are fulfilled, Pankaja’s stature will further grow and they don’t want this to happen.” While after Munde’s death, the party had promised that the Lok Sabha seat would go to his family member, Pritam being a greenhorn is a cause for concern. Other possible candidates include Jaisingh Gaikwad (former Beed MP) and Ramesh Adaskar.
“Pritam is a novice when it comes to politics. We already have good leaders, even an ex MP from the area as potential candidates. We expect the NCP will field Dhananjay Munde (Munde’s estranged nephew) from this seat and, hence, we need a seasoned person,” said the leader.
Attempts made to contact Eknath Khadse, senior BJP leader and also the leader of opposition in the assembly, and to party state president Devendra Fadanvis, proved to be futile.