Munde loses gram panchayat, faces trouble on home front

The BJP may have decided to fight the upcoming elections in Maharashtra under the leadership of Gopinath Munde, but he is facing trouble on his own home turf, having lost the gram panchayat in his native village of Nathra to his estranged nephew Dhananjay Munde.

Gopinath Munde was born in Nathra in 1949. One of the few OBC faces in the BJP, he created a mass base for himself across the state and had a virtual stranglehold over the politics of Nathra. However, faced with rebellion from within his family, all candidates propped by him lost the elections this time.

All seven seats in the gram panchayat were bagged by NCP candidates promoted by Dhananjay. "This result is the reflection of the work that I and my father have done in the entire constituency and a jolt to our opponents," said Dhananjay.

Meanwhile, Gopinath Munde's daughter Pankaja, an MLA from Parli, said the family respected the voters' verdict.

The Munde family has been at loggerheads for the last one year with Gopinath Munde's elder brother, Panditanna, and nephew breaking ranks with him.

Gopinath Munde, who along with Pramod Mahajan played an important role in strengthening the BJP in the state, had handed over the responsibility of managing his constituency of Beed district to his elder brother. The responsibility was subsequently taken over Dhananjay.

However, Dhananjay had the first major fallout with his uncle in 2009, when Gopinath Munde choose his daughter to represent his Assembly seat of Parli. Dhananjay was placated by being given a place in the Legislative Council in 2010.

But in December 2011, the two fell apart over who should be installed as municipal council president in Parli. Dhananjay wanted his representative to be elected, but Gopinath Munde did not agree. Dhananjay subsequently rebelled against the BJP's whip and managed to get his nominee elected.

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