Unfazed by the opposition’s threat to disrupt ensuing Assembly session over corruption charges against her, Maharashtra Woman and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde asserted she was fully equipped to counter the rivals in the House since she had not committed any wrongdoing.
Daughter of late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde, Pankaja regretted that an impression was sought to be created that she was eyeing the chief ministerial slot claiming the legacy of her father by ” misconstruing and misinterpreting” some statements she made earlier.
Responding to the Congress-NCP demand for a CBI probe into Rs. 206 crore “procurement” scam, relating to alleged irregularities in procurement of a host of items for anganwadis and other institutions without e-tendering, Pankaja said “I have firm ground to show that I have done nothing wrong.”
Referring to a statement she made a few months back that people wanted to see her occupy the top post in the state had been “misconstrued and misrepresented.”
In May this year, Pankaja had said that people wanted to see her occupy the top post of the state, seen as the reflection of her ambition to be the chief minister on the strength of the legacy of her farther.
“I do not know if I will become the chief minister. But whenever I attend a function, people feel had ‘saheb’ (her father) been alive, he would definitely have become the chief minister. This reflects the sentiment people have towards him,” Pankaja had then said.
“I am not an immature person. I understand politics and will never insult my leaders,” she said during an interaction with reporters here when asked about her controversial claim which was seen as a snub to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
She recalled that speakers before her at a function at Pune had expressed their wish to see her as Maharashtra’s first woman chief minister. “Should I admonish them? I just took their blessings. I am not eyeing any post,” she said.
Recalling her father’s death shortly after becoming a minister at the Centre, she said, “People feel his vaccum and see him in me as his representative. Whether I am capable or not, time will tell.” she added.
“Allegations against me are vendetta politics,” she said in a veiled reference to her cousin and leader of opposition in the Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde.