A day after Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde was accused by a Mumbai singer of rape, the ruling Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar-led NCP rallied around the beleaguered minister and dismissed any idea of him resigning from the cabinet. However, the Congress maintained silence on the issue.
On Tuesday, Munde had put out a social media post, denying the allegation of rape by the woman. The minister claimed that he was being blackmailed by the complainant and her sister with whom he was in a relationship and has two children.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil said: “It takes lot of time and effort to make it big on a political platform. If anyone has made an allegation, it will be wrong to come to a conclusion immediately without verifying the facts. Munde has already given his side of the story. The matter, a family affair, is in the high court. Munde has clarified about it.”
Patil said there was a similar allegation against another NCP leader Mehboob Shaikh. “There was no truth in it. Let us not come to a conclusion when only an allegation has been made. There will be an investigation and the truth will come out.”
Echoing the NCP, Shiv Sena Minister Abdul Sattar said, “A similar kind of allegation had surfaced concerning a BJP leader years back. That time, Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray had said that ‘pyar kiya toh darna kya’. He had stood by that leader.”
After Munde acknowledged his relationship with the woman, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya lodged a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner against the minister for concealing details about his family and properties in his election affidavit.
Reacting to Somaiya’s move, NCP State spokesperson Umesh Patil said, “If the BJP is demanding the resignation of Munde on the grounds of false affidavit, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi should also resign. In his 2014 affidavit, the Prime Minister did not mention about his wife and in the 2019 affidavit, he spoke about her.” Patil said Munde just conceded that he had a relationship through mutual consent.
The State Congress, however, refused to either support or oppose the demand for Munde’s resignation. Reacting to a tweet of the BJP Mahila Morcha, State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said: “If the BJP Mahila Morcha is demanding Munde’s resignation for he has two wives, then all BJP leaders should face similar fate.”
“The party is rallying around Munde. These are mere allegation and not a court verdict. Therefore, the party is not seeking his resignation,” Patil added.