Published On : Tue, Sep 5th, 2017

BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh wants Pankaja Munde to become Maha’s first woman CM

Nagpur: Voice of dissent has started erupting within BJP circles in the state. The party’s MP and MLA are now taking to public platform to vent their ire against both the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Mininster Narendra Modi. Recently BJP MP Nana Patole has commented that Modi does not like to be asked questions while also raising questions on Fadnavis’ style of functioning. Now yet another public representive indirectly registered his dissatisfaction over the performance of Fadnavis. BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh has furthered his anguish by expressing “good wishes” to state rural development minister Pankaja Munde. Moreover he also hoped that she becomes “the first woman chief minister of the state”.

However Deshmukh’s version are seen as his own views within party circles but this comment has given enough fodder to the Opposition to make an issue out of it.

“Maharashtra is a progressive state and I hope Pankajatai becomes its CM. Much to her advantage, she belongs to Bahujan Samaj (backward class) too,” said Ashish Deshmukh, a Maratha and a first-time BJP MLA from Katol.

He was addressing a convention of women’s self-help groups in his constituency in Nagpur district and Munde was the chief guest. Munde seemed to gleefully accepted Deshmukh’s good wishes while instinctively bowing in the direction of Lord Ganesha’s idol placed in an enclosure close by.

Munde was unavailable for elaborating on the situation as she was surrounded by women attending the convention exchanging pleasantries with her and later rushed to Nagpur to board a flight for Mumbai. However, Deshmukh, talking to ToI, admitted having said so to Munde “whenever such a chance arose”.

“It was a convention on women’s empowerment. A speaker before me, BJP’s district unit president Rajeev Potdar, spoke how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a step forward for women’s empowerment by appointing Nirmala Sitharaman as defence minister on Sunday. Continuing the thread, I wished Pankajatai good luck to be the CM at the opportune time,” explained Deshmukh, finding nothing round in his remark.

Coming in the wake of the attack mounted by Patole, the BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondia, Deshmukh’s utterance points to some internal rumblings in the BJP. Patole also became the first party leader to speak publicly against Modi when he said the PM does not like anyone questioning his actions. Deshmukh is the son of former Congress state chief Ranjeet Deshmukh.

Fadnavis enjoys the full support of Modi and party president Amit Shah. A Brahmin, he is also in good books of the RSS in which he has roots. At the same time Munde is not known to conceal her political ambitions.

On October 14 2014, after BJP won the state elections, Munde had publicly said she would like to be the CM. Accused of irregularities in floating tenders and procuring sub-standard ‘chikki’ to be supplied to children, she has been lying low for the last one year.

Deshmukh is in favour of a full loan waiver for state farmers and has been very vocal about it. He also actively participates in pro-Vidarbha movement.