Even before Munde’s body arrived at the funeral site, it was announced that his eldest daughter, Pankaja Munde, would perform the last rites. There was a spontaneous applause from the public, in what was received as a progressive step from a patriarchal mindset, specially in a district such as Beed.
It was a progressive step away from patriarchy in a district like Beed, to get Pankaja to light her father’s funeral pyre.
Immediately after the cremation, murmurs could be heard about who would contest the by-polls from the seat vacated by Munde’s death. Talks hinted at either Pankaja, who is an MLA from Parli, or her younger sister Pritam.
Pankaja, who currently heads the youth wing of the state BJP, was the one who was seen prominently after her father’s death. Her influence counts for much in Beed, and the public sympathy is with her at the moment, as was evident by the fact that it was only after her request to the angry supporters that they calmed down.
The BJP, in spite of having the option of getting Dhananjay, Munde’s nephew who had revolted against him, has almost decided that it will field Pankaja or Pritam.