Maharashtra assembly polls: Dhananjay destroyed the NCP here, there, everywhere, says Pankaja Munde

Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 08:34 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Parli

A confident Pankaja Munde pooh-poohs talk of her cousin posing her a challenge this time

Pankaja Munde campaigning in Parli. Pic/Atul Kamble
Pankaja Munde campaigning in Parli. Pic/Atul Kamble

The Parli assembly seat in Beed has become a much talked-about family fight, with BJP minister and two-time MLA Pankaja Munde fighting against her cousin Dhananjay, NCP's leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. mid-day caught up with Pankaja on the campaign trail.

Withelections just a week away, what do you think of the current scenario?
We are confident of forming the government because we have worked for the people. We won the Lok Sabha polls with good margin and it proves that the people have full faith in our governments in Centre and state.

Why is Marathawada under-developed despite giving the state several CMs?
It is true there is less development in Marathwada then elsewhere. But our government is taking up several important projects like Jal Yukt Shivar, Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana and others that will help the region. Our government is dedicated towards working for the region and our aim is to make the region drought-free. I have improved road infrastructure in my constituency and several roads that were never repaired have been repaired. Some roads are still bad, but they'll be fixed soon.

How would you answer your cousin's allegation that you have not done any work in the last 10 years and had to bring the PM to the constituency because you fear losing?
I am not fighting against my brother. He is fighting against me. I won in 2009 and 2014 and he lost the election in 2014. After he entered NCP, he has made the party zero, not just in this district but also in the state. He was made an MLC after losing and has three years left in the tenure. Yet he is back, fighting me again. So, let me make it very clear that this is not a brother vs sister fight, but an NCP vs BJP battle. He makes allegations against me because he wants to mislead people, but they are smart and are aware of my work.

The Opposition also alleges that the BJP does not have any homegrown leaders and had to poach from other parties...
The NCP was birthed by taking MLAs from Congress. And they took many leaders from our party too at that time. What you see now is is ghar wapsi. All those strong leaders who have joined us have come to us because they want to be a part of the development agenda that will take the state to newer heights.

How difficult and challenging is it to be a woman cabinet minister in a male-dominated field?
I have been in politics for 15 years. I feel only men say it is a man's field. In reality it is nothing like that. A woman can reach wherever she wants. Of course, there's a lot of competition and insecurity, but that is there in every field. I never felt discriminated against.

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