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Community mourns death of mass leader Gopinath Munde

June 10
00:20 2014
NFIA Président Sohan Joshi, Jitendra Diganvker, Ajit Gandhi, Shridhar Damle

NFIA Président Sohan Joshi, Jitendra Diganvker, Ajit Gandhi, Shridhar Damle

CHICAGO: Mourning the sudden death of Union Minister Gopinath Munde in a car accident recently, Indian Americans across Chicagoland felt that this could be a big blow to the nascent Modi Ministry in New Delhi. Munde had catapulted himself to a relative high position in the Government and ruling BJP not by political maneuvering but by hard grassroots work and assiduously trying to root out corruption. He was also involved in co-operative power politics in Maharashtra, his Karmabhoomi.

He had successfully fought the power entrenched Congress goliath and was about to make positive changes in rural areas of not only Maharashtra but the entire country. His sudden departure has left a void difficult to fill.

Many in the community here and back home in India feel that an independent probe into the car accident needs to be conducted to ensure that no foul play was involved.

Sohan Joshi, a community activist and the president of National Federation of Indian Associations, joined scores of Indian Americans in mourning the shocking and sudden death of Shri Munde.

In a talk to this paper, Joshi said that Munde had carved out a place for himself with the Indians across the country thru his selfless services and caring for the downtrodden in society. Though he was from Maharashtra he was equally well known and loved by people in other States of Indian Union.

“We are all saddened here and pray to God Almighty for resting his soul in Peace. We also pray to Almighty that He gives strength to all the nation building forces in India to bear Mundeji’s loss and carry forward his unfinished task in lifting Maharashtra and India to a new high,” he said.

Joshi said he was sure that PM Narendra Modi will not waver from his pre-election crusade about cleansing the administration as far as possible and taking active steps to end endemic corruption. People like Gopinath Munde would have been a great help but then “we need to move forward,” he said.

He further said that on behalf of NFIA he has sent congratulatory messages to PM Modi and Union Health Minister Dr Harvardhan who is invited to come to Chicago for a Health Summit in November. “Dr Harsh Vardhan has accepted our invitation. We also expect Modiji to make it possible to come to Chicago in September this year,” he mentioned.

OFBJP USA offers
condolences
CHICAGO: Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) – USA has expressed grief at the sudden and tragic demise of BJP’s leader from Maharashtra, Gopinath Munde.

“It is a great loss for the nation, BJP, and Maharashtra as the void created by his departure cannot be easily filled. The loss would be irreparable,” Jitendra Diganvker, an OFBJP activist said.

Mundeji is survived by his wife Pradyna (Sister of late BJP leader, Pramod Mahajan) and three daughters one of whom, Pankaja Munde, is an MLA from Parli in Maharashtra’s Beed district. Eldest daughter Pankaja Munde Palwe performed the last rites as top political leaders from all over the country attended the funeral.

Munde was a leader of the masses with a pleasant disposition. He was architect of BJP’s growth along with his brother-in-law late Pramod Mahajan in Maharashtra. He was one of the key architects of the recent unprecedented victory of BJP in the parliamentary elections in Maharashtra.

OFBJP-USA said it prays that his soul rests in peace and God bestows strength to his surviving family in their hour of crisis.

Was it an accident?
Ajit Gandhi, a community activist from Naperville in Illinois poses a question with hundreds others in Maharashtra: “Was the shocking death of Shri Gopinath Munde, the Union Minister for Rural Development, the outcome of a car accident or a “planned move” by some interested groups to oust him from the political scene?” Hundreds and hundreds of people attending his funeral in Maharashtra sought a CBI probe into his death, on the suspicion that it was not an accident.

Rising from a relatively low rung of the ladder, Gopinathji Munde literally symbolized a true bottoms-up phenomenon. His biggest achievement can be said to be the challenge he posed to the strongman of Maharashtra – Sharad Pawar. In the end, he finished Pawar’s power in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Alas, he did not live to enjoy that victory.

He came from the so-called OBC and yet became a star within BJP. He was guided by Vasantraao Bhagwat of the RSS/BJP combine. His other big contribution was to change the image of the BJP which was known to be party of the Brahmans & Baniyas, that too in the urban areas. He took BJP deep in the country and to so many castes & communities. No doubt, he was very ambitious. He did achieve the post of Deputy CM, won the LS election handsomely, became a Central Cabinet minister and was on the way to become CM of Maharashtra in 4 months.

The outpouring at his funeral was so strong that not only the Congress party leaders had to run away but even some of the BJP netaas, too.

Shridhar Damle commented not as a BJP sympathizer and worker but as a political researcher that Gopinath Munde was a mass leader. BJP pracharak Vasantrao Bhagwat groomed him along with other activists from various neglected castes like Wadhawane, Phudkar, Dange etc.

Munde did a whirlwind campaign, especially against Sharad Pawar, highlighting the endemic corruption, connections with gangsters and social injustice meted out to the weak and downtrodden. He was at ease with commoners, would listen to their problems and was happy to eat with them at their dwellings.

Congress leaders used their control over cooperative sugar factories as power centers in Maharashtra, to create domination in vote bank politics in local elections, co operative banks in districts, in schools and colleges – in short create their own Nawabi suba or monopoly.

Munde offered a good alternative to people and farmers, thereby making a big dent in the nefarious game of corrupt elements by running successfully and profitably co operative sugar factories. Later, other BJP leaders followed his lead and set the same pattern and path
In a short observation, he added “this is my view as a political researcher, not as a BJP person. Matter of fact I informed BJP leaders that if you come to power, I will be in opposition for the simple reason that power corrupts. It is better that sympathizers like me draw attention of BJP to their mistakes and unfold corruption at any place rather than the power grab motive which could be motivating anti-BJP opposition parties.”

Surendra Ullal

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