BJP's National General Secretary Gopinath Munde is unhappy with his party as it has denied ticket to Poonam Mahajan from the Mumbai North-East seat. Poonam is his niece and daughter of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.
In fact, this is not the first time that the party has rejected Munde's efforts to rehabilitate members of the Munde-Mahajan family. Last year, during the Rajya Sabha elections, he had tried to get ticket for Pramod Mahajan's wife Rekha. In an interview to Makarand Gadgil, he made his disappointment loud and clear. Excerpts:
It is believed you are angry with the party for denying ticket to Poonam?
No, I am neither angry nor disappointed with the party's decision. But I have decided not to demand anything for the Mahajan family from the party in future.
I only wished the party could have been more liberal towards the family of a man who played a major role in transforming it into a mainstream party in the state from being a fringe player.
However, since it is a party decision, I am going to accept it with humility. Mahajan had contested election from this constituency thrice and had nursed it.
It was also Poonam's wish to make her political debut from the constituency from which her father once represented.
Considering your present rebellious mood, will you campaign for the party across the state. The party will be depending on you heavily as you are its popular face in the state?
Of course I will campaign for the party and make it victorious. I am ready to carry out any responsibility that the party will give to me. The only thing I am saying is that I will not ask for any post or ticket neither for myself or Poonam or any member of the Mahajan family.
But don't you think you are making your disappointment known, which will send a wrong signal to the party cadres and affect its prospect in the state. The workers who are loyal to you will stay away from campaigning?
No. The party has taken a decision and it has to think about what signal its decision will send to the cadres.
I am a BJP worker and there are lakhs of like me in the party, no one is supporter or opponent of mine. We all are BJP's workers who work to take forward our party's cause.
It is believed that because of your strained relationship with state president Nitin Gadkari, he did not support the cause of Poonam's candidature before the central leadership of the party?
No, it is not correct. Both me and Gadkari strongly recommended Poonam's candidature before the central party leadership and it was the central leadership's decision not to give ticket to Poonam. I will not blame Gadkari for this.
As you are saying that in future, you will not ask for anything from the party, so are you going to stay away from active politics?
I am still very much an active political worker and wish to be so. I will try to fulfil any responsibility given to me be the party earnestly. The only thing I am saying is that I will not ask the party in future to give me this responsibility or that responsibility.