At Narendra Modi?s rally in Beed on Saturday, Pankaja Munde asked voters to imagine she is contesting all six assembly seats in Beed Lok Sabha constituency, last represented by her father the late Gopinath Munde. Speaker after speaker was rooting for her as chief minister, but the 35-year-old, two-time MLA and president of the BJP?s state youth wing says she wants to grow first.
This is the BJP?s first election after the death of your father. Are you approaching it differently?
The people are the same, their support is the same. Their love is maybe even more than before. But my dad?s guidance is not there. He would say one word and I would know what exactly to do next. That is something I miss terribly. I am also afraid of doing something wrong. I stop often and ask myself how he would have dealt with a situation.
Will the BJP will outdo itself in Beed owing to a sympathy factor? Of course there is a sympathy factor; I would not deny it. He was such a big leader, and remember the tragedy happened just 15 days after he won the election, just four days after his swearing-in? There will be a love-cum-sympathy factor for us. There has been so much talk about Pankaja as chief minister. Is that your immediate aspiration? See, I was not aspiring towards chief ministership ever. I was not working towards that. Minister anyway I was going to become. When dad was there also, I would have become a minister, because I was among the state?s first ten leaders. Now I am in the first four or five. I tried to give justice to my promotion. Earlier I was not part of the team that took decisions. Now during my Sangharsh Yatra, I met lakhs and lakhs of people. They felt it was my dad?s dream and so they feel I should therefore be chief minister. But I never aspired to that. However, I would like to be part of the process of making the chief minister of the state, and I will contribute. Let?s say you are offered the top job; what would your response be? If the party offers it, I wouldn?t say no, but honestly I am not thinking about it right now. I need to grow first. At a function earlier this week, Amit Shah anointed you the state?s biggest OBC leader. Is that the BJP?s strategy to occupy a political space that?s fallen vacant? Yes, my dad was born into an OBC caste, but he was a leader. Leadership is not gender-based or caste-based. But being an OBC he always knew their problems, their survival issues. I would like to take on that mantle. At the same time I would like to be a mass leader like him. That is something I aspire to, more than a ministership. A mass leader is something that is there for years.
Read more: I don?t aspire to be CM…