Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pankaja Munde on Friday finally broke her silence after her younger sister and two-time MP Pritam Munde did not get a berth in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Union Cabinet which was revamped on Wednesday.
Pankaja said she was not upset with the party leadership's decision of not including her younger sister into the Union council of ministers, but admitted that there was "negativity" among her supporters due to it.
Talking to reporters on Friday, she also said she wasn't so big a leader that the party will try to finish her politically as was alleged by the Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"I was born in Vanjara community and that doesn't mean I should be referred to as a Vanjara or OBC leader. I belong to the state. I am a woman leader and I represent the entire state. It would be wrong to portray me as a Vanjara leader," she said. There is no question of me being upset, she added.
"Pritam Munde was being considered (for a berth in Union cabinet). Like her, even Heena Gavit was being considered. Pritam is a hardworking and loyal party worker. She won from Beed with a record margin. Not because she is Gopinath Munde's daughter, but because she was a deserving candidate. The party is the ultimate truth. There is no question of me being upset," she said.
During the interaction, Pankaja also got emotional and said that her father late Gopinath Munde’s life was also full of struggle and she will continue his fight and stand by the downtrodden.
Earlier, Shiv Sena alleged that the inclusion of BJP's Rajya Sabha member Bhagwat Karad into the Union council of ministers, Pritam Munde, was a plan to finish off the political career of her sister Pankaja.
In an editorial in 'Saamana', the Shiv Sena said, "Bhagwat Karad has been made a minister of state. This is a move aimed at finishing off the (political career) of Pankaja Munde. Karad, who grew up in the shadow of BJP leader late Gopinath Munde, was made a minister instead of (Pankaja's sister) Pritam Munde. There is room to doubt whether the move is aimed at creating a division in the Vanjara community (to which Munde and Karad belong) and to each Pankaja Munde a lesson."
(With PTI inputs)