It is a big loss for the state
The demise of Gopinath Munde means a lot to Maharashtra. He was one of the most popular BJP workers as well as an important leader. Both the Shiv Sena and the BJP were poised to come into power in the forthcoming state Assembly Elections. With this tragic incident, the conditions have changed. It is a big loss for all of us. His demise is shocking.
—Madhav Godbole, former union home secretary
Munde was a people’s man
I had been a close friend to Gopinath Munde since 1972, when he first came to Pune as a law student. Munde’s first role as a leader began when he was appointed the secretary of Deccan Gymkhana, RSS Shakha, in the same year, where I was also a worker. Despite coming from a village, he was able to build a good rapport with all the shakha members within the first two weeks of his joining. We went on to open eight more shakhas in Sambhajinagar and Munde became the Mandal pramukh. Later, he went on to become the university representative of his college. Munde from the beginning showed charismatic leadership qualities. He had an ability to attract people—wherever he went he could mix up with anyone. After 1978, he went onto join the mainstream politics from Parali in Beed. However, he always remained in touch with us met us whenever he was in Pune. With his demise, I feel as if a household member has left us. It is a huge loss for Maharashtra and the country. He was a big support for the other leaders in the state.
RSS worker and Munde’s friend since 1972 Had ability to mobilize workers
The accidental death of Gopinath Munde is too sad and a great loss, especially for Maharashtra. Being a grassroot leader, Munde could mobilise party workers even with his mere presence. It is definitely a big blow for the BJP in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections for which Munde in which he would have played a bigger role. His whirlwind campaigning style and ability for head-on collision with the Opposition was something unique that no other BJP leader in the state had. The BJP-Sena alliance is passing through a rough patch and it needed Munde as a crisis manager. His name also topped the list of the probable chief ministers after the next election. All these speculations will alter the state BJP unit, making the party extra cautious in the next few months.
—Vidyabhushan Arya, political analyst
He was looked upon as future leader
I knew Munde since 1974 as a student in one of the colleges of Pune. He was working for Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad. He was not only a good student leader but also a good orator. Naturally, we all in Maharashstra were looking at him as our future leader. A promising leader from the state, his demise is a great loss. A person with constructive attitude, he was active in organising many cooperatives and sugar cooperatives in the state. He had lot of capabilities.
—Bhai Vaidya, senior socialist leader
Munde was hard worker, aggressive
Munde was chosen to change the face of BJP in Maharashtra. Munde along with his brother-in-law, Pramod Mahajan, were very active in expanding BJP’s base. They together formulated a social engineering formula against the Congress in the state. Basically, all this was planned along with Vasantrao Bhagwat, a devotee of RSS. Munde was a mass leader and an aggressive hard worker. People in Maharashtra always had a liking for an aggressive leader like him. He would personally visit villages in the state and try to understand their problems. He was a good leader and obviously with his demise there will be big gap. I knew him from his days in Ambejogai.
—Kumar Saptrishi, founder president, Yuvak Kranti Dal