BJP sounds poll bugle, puts Munde in charge
Party state unit chief Mungantiwar divides duties, tasks Gopinath Munde camp with election preparations and Nitin Gadkari faction with organisational work
BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar yesterday sounded the bugle for the assembly and Lok Sabha elections by assigning different responsibilities to party workers in the city. While a section of workers were told to take up only organisational responsibilities, others were tasked with strengthening the party for the polls that are due in a couple of years.
Without mentioning the two factions in the city unit, Mungantiwar made clear that the election preparations in the state would be under the guidance of BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, while the responsibility of the “other flank” — supporters of BJP national president Nitin Gadkari — would be to maintain the party as a well-knit unit at the state level.
Mungantiwar, who is known for keeping himself equidistant from both factions, was addressing the media in the presence of party workers. The Munde group in the party was also present, though in the past it used to boycott party events in order to avoid sharing the dais with followers of Gadkari.
The tussle between the two groups in the city had started last year, when Gadkari loyalist Vikas Mathkari was appointed the party city unit chief. Soon, Munde supports had begun claiming that Gadkari’s supporters in the city were ignoring their views while taking important decisions.
Mungantiwar sent out a clear message to Gadkari’s followers that they would now have to work under Munde’s leadership as the polls were near. “Munde has more than 30 years’ experience in electoral politics,” Mungantiwar said. “He has never played power politics or politics of the kind that revolves around a particular person.”
Hinting that the BJP parliamentary board would take the decision regarding ticket distribution, Mungantiwar pointed out that even Gadkari’s supporters would have to work under Munde’s leadership and that they would have limited decision-making powers in the upcoming elections. The BJP state president also announced start of a month-long, nationwide campaign called ‘NCP-Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao’.
Talking about the campaign as far as the state was concerned, Mungantiwar said the focus would mostly be on alerting the public about the increasing corruption in the Congress-led government in here. He said rallies would be organised and training would be given to party officials, who would later go to the people to make them aware about the campaign.
Prez visit to Belgaum slap on Sena face: BJP
On President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Belgaum, BJP state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar said: “We always have stayed firm on our decision that the president should not go to such places where there is a dispute and the matter is sub judice.”
On the issue of BJP’s alliance partner Shiv Sena having supported Mukherjee during the presidential election, Mungantiwar said that whenever the Shiv Sena had supported a Congress candidate for president, the state had always ended up getting inferior treatment.
Mungantiwar said that the President knew very well the emotions of Marathi people regarding the Belgaum issue and almost all the parties in the state had requested the Mukherjee to not visit Belgaum. “By going there, the President has stabbed the Sena in the back,” he said.
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said that in Karnataka the BJP was in power and the President’s visit had hurt the Marathi people living in Belgaum.