BJP’s national vice-president Gopinath Munde.The BJP may be able to pacify a sulking Gopinath Munde, but the episode has highlighted an embarrassing fact: besides him, it does not have a single mass-based leader in Maharashtra.This fact alone explains why the BJP – which prides itself on its discipline and decorum – is bending over backwards to appease Munde, who has openly raised the banner of revolt against the party leadership.”Munde is important for the BJP in Maharashtra as none of the other state leaders has his mass base or crowd-pulling ability. Even (party president and Munde’s rival) Nitin Gadkari is no match for Munde’s public appeal,” a political analyst feels.Another plus point for Munde is that he is the party’s OBC leader from the state, the analyst adds.A BJP leader from Mumbai disputes the claim, saying the party doesn’t need massbased leaders. ” We are a cadre-based party that is bound by a common ideology. Our supporters and functionaries do not follow the leader but the party,” he says.However, the BJP’s claim is not backed by its actions. In the past few days, Munde has boycotted three rallies in different parts of Maharashtra to herald the Sena-BJP-RPI alliance. Not only this, the BJP general secretary has even called up Congress leader and Union rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to say he is “unhappy” in the party.Besides, Munde has also met Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray twice in the past few days.Lending a touch of defiance to Munde’s recent utterances and actions, his supporters have claimed that 20 of the total 46 MLAs are with him in an oblique reference that the party would be decimated in the state if it does not give Munde a free hand in Maharashtra.advertisementThese reasons make Saturday’s meeting significant. The Gadkari camp has been claiming that Munde, despite being a senior leader, resorts to ” blackmail” each time he wants to have his way. Gadkari is believed to have told senior BJP leaders that Munde does not have the wherewithal to form a new breakaway party.”To avoid the disqualification of his MLAs under the antidefection law, he needs to have at least 12 MLAs (of the total 46) with him. Though he claims the support of 20 legislators, we know that only seven will join him. The figures just don’t add up, so we don’t think that many MLAs will take the risk for Munde,” a BJP leader said.The Munde camp, however, claims it has offers from the Shiv Sena and even the Trinamool Congress. But Gadkari’s supporters claim these reports have been floated by Munde and the party needs to put a full stop to Munde’s “blackmail”.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.