The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday announced that his party will not field any candidate in the by-election to the Beed constituency, which has fallen vacant after the death of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, if one of his family members contests the seat.
He was addressing an all-party condolence meeting organised here to mourn the accidental death of the BJP leader. The meeting was also attended by Munde’s eldest daughter Pankaja Munde-Palve, Union Home Minister and the BJP president Rajnath Singh, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal and the alliance partners of the BJP.
“As a president of a political party I make it clear that my party will not field any candidate in the by-election of the Beed Lok Sabha constituency, if any member of the Munde family decides to contest the election,” he said, clarifying that political rivalry must be kept aside in such situation.
In the past, Munde and Mr. Pawar had been engaged in the bitter political rivalry. The NCP had used all its strength to try and defeat Munde from Beed in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. However, he won by handsome margin.
Sixty four –year-old Munde, one of the strongest mass-leaders of the BJP from Maharashtra, died on June 3, shortly after becoming the Union Minister.
Ms. Pankaja, who is currently an MLA from his bastion Parli , is widely expected to be fielded as the BJP’s candidate from Beed.
However, Mr. Rajnath Singh who praised Pankaja Munde’s work did not make any announcement regarding the by-election. “She is as hardworking as her father. I have seen her work closely. I am sure that she will fulfil the void created after her father’s death,” he said.