Shiv Sena has expressed shock over the death of Union Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident in Delhi on Tuesday morning, saying Maharashtra has suffered an irreparable loss in the BJP leader’s death.
“In the new regime, he was the top most leader from the state in Delhi. Mr. Munde was a grassroot leader and was the most popular. We never saw him losing his temper and he was always found in the midst of party workers. It is not just the Sena-BJP which has lost a towering leader, but Maharashtra has also faced an irreparable loss,” Shiv Sena MP and spokesman Sanjay Raut told PTI.
He was a leader who was proud of Maharashtra and its “asmita”.
“Mundeji had a very warm and affectionate relationship with the Shiv Sena leadership. He worked hard to get new allies in the Sena-BJP combine and made inroads in the Congress-NCP stronghold of western Maharashtra in the recent Lok Sabha polls,” Mr. Raut said.
Mr. Munde, 64, was named by the BJP to lead the party campaign in the state. “But fate willed otherwise. Mundeji’s passing away is not just a loss to the Shiv Sena-BJP, but also to Maharashtra,” Mr. Raut said.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said, “Munde, after having established his leadership credentials in Maharashtra, had gotten a chance to show his talent at the national level. However, it is shocking that his political stint has been cut short in such a tragic manner.”
Just as BJP leader late Pramod Mahajan was considered an architect of the Sena-BJP alliance, Mr. Munde was the architect of the ‘Mahayuti’ (grand alliance), bringing allies like Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana, Mahadev Jankar of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Ramdad Athavale of RPI(A) into the saffron fold, Mr. Desai said.
Mr. Munde was always positive and reassuring in times of adversity and he will be greatly missed, he added.