While speculations were rife that his eldest daughter, Pankaja, would contest in the by-polls for the Lok Sabha constituency, sources said the BJP has decided to field Pritam Munde
The person who will aim to replace deceased Gopinath Munde as the MP from Beed will be his second daughter, 31-year-old Pritam. According to sources, the family has decided that they will field Pritam as the BJP candidate in a by-poll for the Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP had already put the ball in the Munde family’s court, asking them to decide who would contest from Munde’s seat following his death in a car accident on June 3. Some rumours suggested it would be his wife Pradnya, while others threw up the name of his eldest daughter, Pankaja. On Wednesday, Pritam will be seen in a public party event for the first time at Azad Maidan, where she will attend a function of the Vanjari community.
“Yashashri, the youngest daughter, cannot contest because she is underage. Pradnya is still unable to come to terms with her husband’s death. So, the only option left is Pritam and she has already started visiting Parli, Beed and other areas of the constituency,” said a leader close to the Munde family.
Will stay in state
Pankaja’s name had been doing the rounds as the probable candidate for Beed after Munde’s death, especially after she was the one who lit the late leader’s funeral pyre. However, sources said Pankaja has decided to stay in the state.
“In Maharashtra, Pankaja has been accommodated in the core committee (of the BJP), but she won’t get the same importance in Delhi. If we come to power in the state, she will surely be accommodated in some ministry. She can now focus on her yatra and state politics,” explained another leader.
The leader was referring to the ‘sangharsh yatra’ a tour of the Marathwada region that Pankaja will undertake on August 27, similar to a statewide tour her father had completed in the the nineties, which catapulted him to the top of the party’s leadership in the state.
Her plans had ruffled the feathers of the party leaders in Maharashtra. However, after PM Narendra Modi gave his approval to the yatra last week, the state high command of the BJP acquiesced and permission was granted for it on Monday, provide she restricted it to the Marathwada region (‘Munde’s sangharsh yatra cut short’, mid-day, August 17).
BJP’s state chief Devendra Fadnavis said that the decision for the seat rested with the family. He also refuted the claims that Munde’s estranged nephew, NCP’s Dhananjay Munde, would re-join the party.