Mumbai: Singer withdraws rape charges against Dhananjay Munde
Mumbai: Singer withdraws rape charges against Dhananjay Munde

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde received major relief after a playback singer withdrew the rape case filed against him. This move comes days after Munde had consolidated his grip in his home district, Beed.

NCP yet again trounced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently held gram panchayat elections. Munde, who had strongly denied the rape charges and said that it was to blackmail and extort money from him, was strongly supported by the NCP leadership. Party chief Sharad Pawar had stressed the need for a probe before taking any action against the minister.

Despite strong demand and agitation by BJP, the ruling NCP did not seek Munde’s resignation. NCP lashed out at BJP for targeting Munde and politicising the issue. Deputy Chief Minister and veteran NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “My colleague (Dhananjay) from the other backward class (OBC) was unnecessarily harassed and defamed. His family was disturbed. Besides, NCP was also discredited. Who will take responsibility for it? Who is his guardian?” Pawar said, in Dhananjay Munde, a young leadership has emerged in state politics.

“He defeated the cabinet minister and BJP leader Pankaja Munde. Sharad Pawar gave him a big responsibility in the alliance government. He is doing a great job,” he noted.

Interestingly, state NCP chief and water resources minister Jayant Patil had clearly said that the party will not disown Munde, as done by BJP in the case of Eknath Khadse and Chandrashekhar Bawankule.

Now, BJP has demanded action against the playback singer for making rape charges against Munde and her move to withdraw the case. BJP had been divided on the issue since the beginning, as former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had taken a balanced view to let the police complete the probe and wait for the court to give its order. The state unit chief Chandrakant Patil was aggressively demanding the minister’s resignation.

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