The Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Panditrao Munde, the nephew of late senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, represents the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Born on July 15, 1975, MLC Munde joined NCP in 2012 leaving BJP where he worked as the Youth Wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s President in Maharashtra. In a conversation with Afternoon Voice Correspondent Aabid Ali, he shares his views on the politicisation of Pulwama terror attack and Balakot airstrike, corruption in the present state government, and threw light on the NCP-Congress poll strategies this season.
What do you think about the Pulwama Attack?
The heart-breaking terrorist attack in Pulwama killed more than 40 jawans of our nation and as the JeM had taken the responsibility, the IAF airstrikes in Balakot’s terror camps was a necessary step. The IAF deserves applaud for the successful operation. However, BJP politicising the strike for political mileage is unethical, depressing, and harmful for the country’s harmony. I believe the Indian voters are smart and practical; they are going to reject the BJP in upcoming polls. There have been many terror attacks in the last five years, but BJP took no action except playing politics over the martyred jawans.
How do you see the theft of Rafale deal documents from the Defence Ministry?
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! When the opposition questioned the PM, who calls himself the Chaukidar of the country, claiming scams into the Rafale deal, the PM questioned our nationalism for questioning the IAF. However, just when it was about to be exposed that the Chaukidar is Chor, the documents related to the deal got stolen from the Defence Ministry. The same PM, who abused the opposition, couldn’t save the documents. Then, how can he save the country?
If the previous NCP-Congress government and the incumbent BJP-Sena government are compared, people believe Maharashtra has seen fewer corruption cases in the last five years. What do you think?
Frankly speaking, most of the corruption cases in Maharashtra were registered during the Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray government. The NCP has exposed scams in the state worth Rs 90,000 crores and boycotted 14 leaders so far; we have full proof and not a single one is challenged or proved wrong by the government. We have submitted all the proofs in the Assembly and asked the government to punish us if any proof is proved to be misguiding. No such grave corruption has ever been done in the political history of Maharashtra; however, the CM didn’t take any action and rather given a clean chit to all the ministers who are alleged in the scams.
Why did NCP-Congress had to face loss in the 2014 election?
A wave of change was going in 2014 and that benefitted the BJP in the Parliamentary elections. The same wave was also in Maharashtra and the state assembly polls held only four months after the LS polls. To make it clear, the BJP’s victory was initially led by nation-wide Modi wave and secondly because of the NCP-Congress fighting the elections separately.
What is the strategy of NCP to win the 2019 polls?
BJP-Shiv Sena came to power in Maharashtra after 15 long years. All their poll promises have been proved to be false and the government has failed at all the stages. We have been successful in highlighting all the jumlas and corruptions under the present government. People of this state, who are depressed with the ruling alliance, are with us. This is our strength, power, and strategy.
However, I am proud to say that our party workers are grounded, dedicated, and capable and they are ready to win the elections. Voters want to correct their mistake of choosing BJP-Sena in power as they know how much the NCP-Congress government had worked for them in their 10-years long tenure. If the people of the state bring us to power, we will solve their needs and make sure that the voters are happy with their decision.
There is no face in NCP other than Sharad Pawar. How do you look at it?
You have asked a very good question. Sharad Pawar Saheb is a very mature leader who has a great understanding of national politics. Since his stature is so high, it becomes obvious that if there is no leader of his stature in India, then how is it possible to find a leader like him in NCP. However, after him, we have our second group of leaders which include Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, Jayant Patil, Ganesh Naik, and Sunil Tatkare.
You are a grassroot leader. If your party lose the 2019 polls, would you like to sit in the Opposition or will you change the party if BJP offers you?
I am sure that we will win the upcoming state assembly elections; however, if unfortunately, we lose and if we have to sit in the Opposition, I will be with my party. Neither I have any relationship with BJP nor there will be any in the future.
How would you rate BJP in Maharashtra on a scale of 0-10 based on its performance?
Not even a single point. The manner in which BJP is playing politics in the state doesn’t suit to any political party. BJP is involved in corruptions and scams; the party is illegally earning money and using the same for their political rallies. The party doesn’t even hesitate to include goons and criminals in the party. I have been into BJP and I know its leaders and their backgrounds very well. BJP doesn’t deserve a single point. Giving the party any point is disrespectful for the BJP led by late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.