With BJP MLA Pankaja Munde, daughter of Gopinath Munde, indicating that she would not contest the bypoll to the Beed Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra, which fell vacant after her father’s demise, the party has decided to field the late leader’s other daughter Pritam for the seat.
“The state BJP unit has proposed Pritam’s name as party nominee for Beed Lok Sabha bypoll,” a senior state BJP leader said.
With Pankaja, who recently undertook a statewide ‘Sangharsh Yatra’, sending out signals that she would focus on affairs in Maharashtra, there was speculation that her sister Pritam would be the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Beed.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar had publicly declared after Munde’s death that his party won’t field any candidate if any family member of the Munde family were to contest the bypoll.
Pritam Munde, who is based in Nashik, has already started visiting Parli, Beed and other areas of the constituency.
NCP’s Ramesh Adaskar, who contested against Gopinath Munde during the earlier Lok Sabha poll, recently joined the BJP.
NCP minister Jaidatt Kshirsagar may not be inclined to fight the Lok Sabha bypoll and would prefer to retain his Assembly seat, NCP sources said.
Pankaja Munde had embarked on a ‘yatra’ in poll-bound Maharashtra, similar to another such exercise in 1995 by Gopinath Munde, which had helped the BJP-Sena alliance come to power in Maharashtra for the first time.
The 14-day, 3,000 km ‘yatra’ which began from August 27 was also seen as the BJP’s bid to project Pankaja Munde as the party’s Other Backward Caste (OBC) face after Munde, who died in a car accident in Delhi in June this year.
Pankaja Munde is an MLA from the Munde family’s turf of Parli in Beed.
Gopinath Munde had undertaken his 1995 ‘yatra’ campaign against Sharad Pawar over the controversial Enron project and he became Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra in the government headed by the Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi.