Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former minister Pankaja Munde, daughter of late party stalwart Gopinath Munde, on Monday caused a flutter by removing 'BJP' from her Twitter bio, triggering a speculation on her next political move.
On Sunday, Pankaja Munde's social media post on her ‘future journey’ in view of changed political scenario had raised eyebrows.
However, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Monday dismissed reports in a section of media that Pankaja Munde might quit the BJP.
Adding gist to rumour mills, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that many leaders were keen on joining the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, a claim refuted by Patil.
On Monday night, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who also heads Shiv Sena, thanked Pankaja Munde for congratulating him on becoming the CM on November 28.
‘I thank Pankajatai Munde from my bottom of heart (for her wishes). Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi will work in the interest of the state as a part of culture and tradition of 'state's interest first' and I assure that it would develop Maharashtra to a level, envisaged by late Gopinath Munde,’ Thackeray tweeted from his official twitter account @OfficeofUT.
In the October 21 state Assembly elections, Pankaja Munde lost to her cousin and NCP rival Dhananjay Munde in a bitter contest from Parli seat in Beed district.
"BJP leaders are in touch with Pankaja Munde. She is introspecting after her defeat but it does not mean she is leaving the BJP," Patil told reporters in Mumbai.
Refuting Raut's claim, he said, "The accidental government that has come up in Maharashtra is spreading such baseless news. She may be having good family relations with Thackerays but it does not mean she is joining the Sena".
Earlier in the day, Pankaja Munde removed all details from her Twitter bio and description of her political journey.
Also, in her three recent tweets posted on November 28, she congratulated Thackeray as CM but not the government formed by the Sena, NCP and Congress.
She had served as a minister in the earlier Devendra Fadnavis-led government.
She remained present in all core committee meetings of the state BJP unit held before the formation of the new government led by Sena chief Thackeray.
In her Facebook post on Sunday, she invited her followers to Gopinathgad on December 12 on the occasion of her late father's birth anniversary.
Gopinathgad is a memorial of Gopinath Munde in Beed.
‘Looking at the changed political scenario in state, there is a need to think and decide the way ahead. I need time for some 8-10 days to communicate with myself. Our future journey needs to be decided against the backdrop of current political changes,’ she wrote in her Facebook post in Marathi.
‘What to do next? Which path to be taken? What can we give to people? What is our strength? What are expectations of people? I will think about all these aspects and come before you on December 12,’ she posted.
She also wrote that she had accepted her defeat in the polls and moved on.
‘I had attended the meetings of the party (BJP),’ the former MLA from Parli said on Facebook.
Maharashtra politics saw several twists and turns after the Assembly poll results were declared on October 24.
Scripting a new political chapter in the state, the Shiv Sena snapped ties with its decades-old ally BJP, which won maximum 105 seats, and joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress under the front called 'Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi' to form government.