Mumbai, June 13: BJP Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, who is upset with his party leadership, met Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray last evening.
The meeting that was held at a suburban five-star hotel, took place against the backdrop of speculations that Munde might quit the BJP to join the Congress.
The speculations were rife after Munde met the Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh recently. Munde had stayed away from most of the Sena-BJP-RPI rallies in the state including the one held in Mumbai last week.
Sources in the Shiv Sena said that Uddhav is aware that Munde has played an important role in cementing the Shivshakti-Bhimshakti alliance and if the senior BJP leader moves away, it will be detrimental to the alliance, which aims to dethrone the incumbent Congress-NCP coalition, which has been at the helm of affairs since the past 12 years. Munde is apparently upset over the appointment of Pune corporator Vikas Mathkari as the Pune city BJP president recently. Mathkari, who is a supporter of BJP National President Nitin Gadkari, was chosen over another contender Yogesh Gogawale, who supports Munde.
Sources close to the party leader say that Munde, a prominent OBC leader from the state, feels sidelined after the re-induction of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, another OBC face of the BJP, into the party fold. In 2008, Munde had quit all party posts to protest against the appointment of Madhu Chavan, as the Mumbai BJP president. He had his way when Chavan had to resign within a few days.
The current Mumbai unit president Raj Purohit is also close to Munde. A section of the party wanted corporator Ashish Shelar to be made the Mumbai city president, but Munde's wish had prevailed. PTI