Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar yesterday claimed that late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde wanted to join Congress along with his party MLAs, but then prime minister Manmohan Singh advised him against engineering a “split” in the BJP.

“Munde was ready to quit BJP and join Congress with legislators Pasha Patel, Madhuri Misal, Prakash Shendge, and daughter Pankaja,” the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said.

“Singh opined that it was not wise to split the party (BJP) in such a manner and did not induct Munde in Congress.”

“Sushma Swaraj also persuaded Munde from leaving the party,” the NCP leader said, adding Devendra Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde and Sudhir Mungantiwar worked to ensure no MLA quit the party with Munde.

Munde was the architect of OBC base of BJP and the rainbow alliance with Shiv Sena and three parties ahead of the 2014 polls.