“Shall not sport 'Pheta' (traditional Marathi headgear) till the issue of Maratha quota is resolved, BJP leader Pankaja Munde said on Friday as she shared stage with DCM Devendra Fadnavis at a programme organised in memory of Maratha leader Vinayak Mete.
“Rajendra Mhaske suggested that I should sport a ‘Pheta’. I declined it. When the OBC quota was in danger I had said that I won’t accept garlands. The issue was eventually resolved, though the case is still pending in the court,” Munde said, adding, “We have made promises to several communities. We have promised the Dhangar community that they’ll get quota under OBCs. We have made promises to women and youth also. I don’t feel like sporting 'Pheta' till the promises are fulfilled,” she added.
Issue of unkept promises
The statement, especially the reference to promises not being kept, is being seen as a message given by sulking Munde to the party leadership.
Sources say though Munde shared stage with Fadnavis, the duo doesn't share cordial relations like before. Munde, who lost the 2019 assembly election, feels that she is being ditched by the party since then. The family is also unhappy after the inclusion of Dr Bhagwat Karad, party leader from Aurangabad, into the Union cabinet instead of Pankaja’s sister Pritam, who is an MP. As a result, relations became so strained that Pankaja had avoided sharing stage with Fadnavis during three of his previous visits.
BRS promised to make Munde chief minister
Recently Pankaja was in news when the BRS state leadership said that she would be the Chief Minister if she joins their party.
In this backdrop, her fresh statement is seen as a warning to the party leadership. In her speech, Munde also said that though she was stabbed in the back 2019, she is looking at 2024 as the year that would shape history.
In an interview to a TV channel, she said that though she hasn’t taken the ‘offer’ seriously as yet, there are chances that she would.
Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who too, was present at the function, made it clear that the government was not shying away from its responsibility though the quota has been struck down by the court. “The quota is necessary, but there is no point making it an emotive issue. The government is making all efforts to bring the deprived youth from the Maratha community into the main stream,” he added.