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Gopinath Munde doesn't want to go to Delhi, aims for CM post

While the BJP leader is eying chief minister’s post in state, his party wants to lodge him in Union cabinet and make Devendra Fadnavis leader of state assembly polls

When the who’s who of a victorious BJP are eyeing Union cabinet berths, party veteran Gopinath Munde doesn’t want one. What he wants is to rally the party to another thumping win in the upcoming state assembly polls and fulfill his long-harboured wish to be chief minister.

Gopinath Munde is reportedly upset with the party’s decision. File pic
Gopinath Munde is reportedly upset with the party’s decision. File pic

Sources close to him said that Munde, who is in New Delhi, met senior party leaders and requested them to let him lead the state assembly elections, which are due in October. But the party is all set to announce Devendra Fadnavis as the leader for the state assembly polls.

Sources said Munde was upset upon learning the decision of the party’s central unit. Last Wednesday, he sought to interrupt party’s state in-charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy’s speech. When Rudy said it was time to hand over the reins to someone from the younger generation, Munde said, ‘Keep some space for us’. Since then, he has been essaying to stall his inclusion in the cabinet and stick on in the state.

The same day, he was loath to attend the party meeting at the city BJP office because his name was missing from the invite. He had to be persuaded to attend the gathering. Even during the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Munde faced an upsetting revelation.

After a luncheon meet between senior leader Nitin Gadkari and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked who was authorised to take decisions at the state level, and BJP announced the name of Fadnavis, who was leading the party for the Lok Sabha polls. Munde saw this as a put-down, and later, the sulking leader skipped at least two crucial party meetings.

Though Munde is known as the party’s OBC face with a mass base, the leadership is unwilling to give him free rein due to internal differences. Thus, despite Munde’s strong displeasure, Fadnavis continued as the authority for the state unit during the polls.

Known as an articulate legislator with a good image, Fadnavis is being groomed as party’s generation-next leader. According to a senior BJP leader, the decision to send Munde to Delhi is to avoid any clash between Munde and Gadkari.

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