BJP insiders say two factions in city party unit may organise different events to welcome senior leader when his Jan Chetna Rath Yatra makes its way to city on Thursday; Advani to proceed to Mumbai after overnight stay
The relentless feud between the followers of BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior party leader Gopinath Munde in the city has taken a new course as sources say both factions may end up holding separate welcome functions for party national leader L K Advani when his rath yatra arrives here on November 3.
All may not be well: L K Advani addresses a public meeting during his Jan Chetna Yatra in AP
Former BJP senior leader, Suresh Nashikkar, said, "It is a shame for the BJP members that they are not united despite Advaniji's message of unity to fight against corruption in the country. This is ultimately ruining the party's image on the background of the upcoming municipal elections."
Yogesh Gogawale, leader of the Munde group in the city BJP unit
Recently elected city BJP president Vikas Mathkari, however, denied there was any truth in all the talk about separate welcome functions, and claimed that all 25 BJP corporators have been allotted responsibilities till Advani is in the city.
Pune party chief Vikas Mathkari. File pics
"Some responsibilities have been given to former BJP corporators too," he said, refusing to comment on whether he would share the same dais with Munde in a public gathering. BJP MLA Girish Bapat also claimed that they would all be working together with an aim to make the programme a huge success.
"There are always some differences of opinions and that is not unusual," he said. Yogesh Gogawale, a leader from the Munde group, said that he was not aware of the formal announcement made by Mathkari. "There is no doubt that we are welcoming Advani. We still have certain differences and we want the party high command to officially declare the results of the BJP city elections that took place 10 months ago," he said.
However, he declined to comment when asked if Munde group would be joining the Gadkari group while welcoming Advani. The Munde faction currently includes BJP MLA Madhuri Misal, party group leader Mukta Tilak and senior leaders Anil Shirole and Sandeep Khardekar. "We are all welcoming Advani separately but not with Mathkari," said one party member, requesting anonymity. Misal was unavailable for comment.
Next rath yatra After Lal Krishna Advani, now 'Art of Living' founder Shri Shri Ravishankar will be organising a rally against corruption in the country from November 7