Mumbai, Jan 16: Panditanna Munde, the elder brother of senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, is on his way to the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.
Panditanna is father of Dhananjay Munde, who backed a BJP rebel in the recent elections to the chairmanship of the Parli municipal council against the official candidate nominated by Gopinath Munde.
Speaking to PTI over phone from Beed, Panditanna blamed his younger brother's wife Pradnya for "dividing" the family. "There is nothing in the mind of Gopinath. It is his wife and daughter (Pankaja, BJP MLA), who have poisoned his mind," he said.
"I will join NCP at a function at Parli on January 19, in presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar," he said.
Asked the reason for leaving BJP, Panditanna said, "For the last three years, I was feeling suffocated in the party, for which I have worked tirelessly for so many years, right from the Jan Sangh days."
Reacting to the development, Gopinath Munde said his brother was joining NCP for "selfish" interests.
BJP MLC Dhananjay Munde had violated party whip in the Parli municipal council poll.
Deepak Deshmukh, backed by Dhananjay, won the election. While Deshmukh polled 26 votes, Jugal Kishore Lohia, a Gopinath Munde loyalist and BJP's official nominee, polled only six.
In September, Dhananjay's brother-in-law, Madhusudan Kendre, left BJP to join NCP.
Accusing Ajit Pawar of dividing his family, Gopinath Munde said that the deputy chief minister was indulging in "politics of vendetta".
He rubbished his elder brother's charge that his wife Pradnya was responsible for the rift in the family. "She is not into politics," Munde said.
"I knew in advance that Panditanna would be joining NCP on the 19th. After some time, even Dhananjay will join NCP," he said. Asked if he felt BJP leaders such as (party president) Nitin Gadkari and Vinod Tawde played a role in the rift in Munde family, he said, "They played no such role. This is solely Ajit Pawar's doing."