Rape charges against Maharashtra minister: Will Munde resign from the state cabinet?

Dhananjay Munde

The accusations of rape against the senior NCP leader and Maharashtra Minister Dhananjay Munde and NCB’s action against NCP leader and Minister Nawab Mailk’s son-in-law have led to a fresh blow to the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government. The temperature outside might be dipping due to the weather, but things are heating up in state politics in the wake of these fresh developments.

Barely two days after demanding the resignation of Dhananjay Munde from the state cabinet over alleged rape charges, the BJP’s Kirit Somaiya claimed that he has been receiving threat calls for speaking out. Furthermore, he also came down heavily on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and accused him of perpetrating these acts, warning the latter “to stop this” and “fight head-on”. “I have been receiving threat calls from different people after Dhananjay Munde was exposed, and the police know it. I want to tell Sharad Pawar to stop this and if he has the guts, fight from the front,” the senior BJP leader said.

The former Lok Sabha member and Guajarat face of the BJP in Mumbai, Somaiya had on January 13 demanded that Munde has “no right” to be a Cabinet Minister until all allegations against him are cleared.

The NCP boss Sharad Pawar who termed the issue as a “serious” matter, now said that let him (Munde) continue as a minister and added, “let the cops probe the rape allegations first.”

“Yesterday when I commented on Dhananjay Munde issue, I said that the issue was serious but then certain facts were not in the public domain, I came to know that there was a similar complaint against the same lady by different political party leaders,” Sharad Pawar said.

The vocal Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it is the job of the opposition party to seek resignations every day. “If this yardstick were to be applied, then one can even demand the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi daily over the on-going farmers’ protests,” he said. “We have full faith in Mumbai police. Let them do their investigation first. Whenever the fact in the investigation will come out, we will think of probable action,” Raut said.

The most surprising development is that when the BJP targeted Munde on the issue, the saffron party found itself on the back foot in the controversy over accusations as its own party leader Krishna Hegde and MNS leader Manish Dhuri came indirectly to the defence of Munde by claiming that the woman who had made allegations of rape against the NCP Minister had tried to “honey-trap” them.

However, Renu Sharma, refuted the allegations on her Twitter handle. She said, “I was never involved in any honey trap activity as alleged. Continuing further she wrote, Do one thing, you all decide, on what needs to be done, even those who know me are accusing me of wrongdoings, I will back o from the entire matter, as that’s what you all want isn’t it?” “Ek kaam kariye aap sab hi Faisal le lijiye, Bina kuchh Jane agar aap sab our Jo mujhe jante hen wo bhi galat arop laga rahe hen to aap sab mil k hi decide kar lo, Mai hi pichhe hat jati hun jaisa aap sab chah rahe ho,” a demoralised Renu said in Hindi in her Tweeter on Friday.

** M Charulata