Pune: It was way back in 1997 that deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde was advised by the police against visiting his staunch follower Gopal Chintal’s dilapidated rented house in Bhavani Peth since the staircase of the Old Wada was dangerous. Munde prevailed since he had always been patron for his followers. The staircase was repaired and Munde came to have dinner at the rented house. MLA Dipak Paygude and Suresh Kalmadi also accopmanied Munde for the dinner.
Chintal recalls his association with Munde since 1991 and said that it was ‘only because of Munde saheb that Gopal and his wife Sunita Chintal—the only couple in the state—who got candidature in two PMC seats’. Chintal’s mother, who used to work as a bidi worker, was overwhelmed when Munde touched her feet. Munde was moved when he came to know that his staunch follower Chintal was staying in such a house for four decades. Munde spoke to a builder and made arrangements for Chintal to buy a flat. He also mentored Chintal’s children into becoming engineers and bagging jobs.
Chintal said that he witnessed his leader’s greatness in another incident when his son met with an accident. Chintal was campaigning for Manohar Parrikar and Sripad Naik in Goa way back in 1998, when his son Vivek met with an accident in Mumbai and had to undergo neurology surgery. “The accident took place on May 28, 1998, and after my wife called up Munde saheb, who was the deputy chief minister at that time, he came all the way and made arrangements. I was not aware of the accident till May 31. After the campaign was over, I was provided with an air ticket to fly to Mumbai.”