Political scholars in Pune say both leaders were coveting CM's post and indulging in mudslinging to attract voters' attention
Political experts in the city said both BJP leader Gopinath Munde and NCP Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar were keenly eyeing the CM's post. They said the recent recriminatory salvo exchanged between the two leaders was a result of the intense rivalry for the topmost chair in the state. In response to Munde's allegation that Ajit Pawar was involved in land grab incidents in the city, the Deputy CM said the BJP leader should back it with evidence.
Ming high: Experts say Deputy CM Ajit Pawar
Earlier, Munde declared in a public rally held on the occasion of the Jan Chetna rally of senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani in the city that Ajit Pawar would be sent back home after he is kicked out of power. "Although both the leaders are eyeing the upcoming civic elections in the city and other places, this mudslinging between them is not new. It started in 1995, when Congress (NCP wasn't a different party then) lost power in the state assembly," said Prakash Pawar, political science professor at Annasaheb Magar College who has specialised on the subject of civic elections.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde are aspiring for the Chief Minister's post
"After 1995, no party has got a majority in the assembly elections and both leaders started aspiring for the CM's post." Prakash Pawar said the NCP was trying to shift its voter's base from rural to urban and that was the main reason Ajit Pawar was interested more in city politics.
Another political science professor from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar College Dr Nitin Birmal said: "Although Munde was selected as the deputy opposition leader in Loksabha, he was not successful in influencing national politics. While introspecting his own position in national politics and his reducing influence in city's politics, it has become necessary for Munde to attract voters by making such statements.
To divert attention? Birmal said another intention behind the mudslinging was to divert the attention of voters from real problems in the city. Anil Shidore, a political scholar, said: "It's not easy to sustain oneself in national politics, and I think Munde has realised that and so he is projecting himself in state politics. However, the intention behind the allegations made by both the leaders is just to acquire maximum seats in the upcoming civic polls and gain centre stage."