BJP bets big on mobilising OBCs by nominating Pankaja Munde from Beed

Galgotias Ad

Mumbai, March 14 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to field Pankaja Munde, a former state minister and the daughter of senior party leader Gopinath Munde, from Beed in Maharashtra is a calculated move to lure OBC voters, who constitute 52 per cent of the state’s population.

Pankaja, who has a following among the Vanjari community, is being looked at as an emerging OBC leader.

The BJP clearly sees Pankaja’s potential to mobilise support from the OBC community, which will be crucial not just in Beed, but also in seven other Lok Sabha seats in the Marathwada region, where pro-Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil held his protests demanding Maratha reservation, especially from the OBC quota.

Pankaja had lost the 2019 Assembly elections from Parli in her home district Beed against cousin and united NCP member Dhananjay Munde.

However, the political rivalry has now turned into a cordial relationship after the Ajit Pawar-led NCP joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena-BJP government. Dhananjay Munde is now the Agriculture Minister in the MahaYuti government.

On the Maratha and OBC quota controversy, Pankaja was consistent with her stand that the government should provide reservations to the Maratha community, which will stand legal scrutiny. She had strongly asserted that the bitterness between the Marathas and OBC communities should end.

After her name went missing from the party’s list of Rajya Sabha candidates from Maharashtra, Pankaja had said that she was waiting for a position, but no constituency was left for her after the formation of the ‘triple-engine’ government in Maharashtra.

On whether she would like to go to the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, she had replied that it was too late to choose.

“If my supporters in Beed and in the rest of Maharashtra see me in that position, it will be a big thing,’’ she had said.



Comments are closed.