Thackeray backs Munde; targets Gadkari

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Mumbai, Apr 24 (UNI) Shiv sena chief Bal Thackeray has virtually backed BJP leader Gopinath Munde, saying there was an attempt to ''finish'' a mass-based leader like him by some 'BJP' leaders, who had also taken a ''different'' stand when the Sena was going through a rough phase.

In an editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamna', titled ''Bhajapmadhe lokshahi aali Dilli bhi jhukti hai'' (Democracy in BJP, Delhi can also bow down), Mr Thackeray said by accepting the demand of replacing Mr Madhu Chavan as Mumbai BJP president and announcing that the next elections would be fought under the leadership of Mr Munde, the BJP High Command has agreed that Mr Munde is the only mass-based leader in the state.

It said the ''leaders'' who had targetted Mr Munde now had also ''bargained'' with the Shiv sena when a few people left the party and demanded more seats.

His reference was obviously to Mr Nitin Gadkari, who had bargained for a seat from Vidarbha in a byelection.

The editorial also alleged that these very leaders were having close contacts with the rebel sena leaders.

Many BJP leaders, including Shankarsingh Waghela, Uma Bharati, Madanlal Khurana and even Keshubhai Patel had challenged the BJP High Command but none could survive. It was only Mr Munde, who could succeed in forcing the High Command to accept his terms.

The editorial said if the BJP is powerful then the alliance will also be powerful.

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