Mumbai: Panditanna Munde, elder brother of senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, on Thursday joined the Sharad Pawar-led NCP in the presence of his son (Gopinath's nephew) Dhananjay, and vowed to defeat his brother in the election.

Dhananjay, a member of legislative council, told the gathering that he was still with BJP, but would take a "final decision" after hearing from the saffron party.

Panditanna joined NCP at a function on Munde family's home turf, Parli in Marathwada region, in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Gopinath Munde had earlier blamed Pawar for causing a rift in his family.

"If NCP gives me a chance, I will defeat Munde in election. If I lose, I will retire from politics," Panditanna said, after he was welcomed into the party by Ajit Pawar and state unit chief Madhukar Pichad.

At the function, Panditanna was described as someone whose "day begins with a ‘darshan' of his mother and who enquires about her health four times a day".

Panditanna had recently remarked that Gopinath Munde did not bother to visit his mother, who lives with the elder son.

"In 1969, my father died. I ignored my own education to help Gopinath Munde become a big man," Panditanna said.

"Panditanna joined NCP because he was fed up with those who amass all powers with self," Ajit Pawar said, without naming Gopinath Munde. "When you were in Mumbai, your brother made you a legislator, but you forgot him."

Replying to Munde's allegation that he was out to finish OBC politics in the state by targeting him, Pawar said this was far from the truth. "Our party takes all sections of society along and I will leave politics if I ever indulge in such a thing," he said.

Denying Munde's allegation that he was breaking up the family, Ajit Pawar said, "This is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the scam at Beed DCC bank, whose chairman was appointed by the local leadership (Munde)."

"Are we robbers to break houses," he said. "The coming elections will show who is the real leader of Beed."

Pawar assured the gathering that he would consider including the Parli bypass road project in the next state budget, to be presented by him as Finance Minister.

Referring to the differences between Munde and BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Pawar asked him to introspect on the reasons that led him to almost leave BJP last year.

"Some people realised very early in life that to become big in politics, they should criticise Sharad Pawar and his family," he said, targeting Munde.

Dhananjay Munde had backed a BJP rebel in the recent election for the chairmanship of Parli municipal council, against the official candidate nominated by Gopinath Munde. Deepak Deshmukh, backed by Dhananjay, won the election with a big margin.

Speaking to media recently, Panditanna had blamed Gopinath Munde's wife Pradnya for "dividing" the family. "There is nothing in the mind of Gopinath. It is his wife and daughter (Pankaja, BJP MLA), who have poisoned his mind," he said.

Reacting to the development, Gopinath Munde told reporters in Latur that he had faith in the people of Beed, his Lok Sabha constituency.

"There are bound to be ups and downs in life. But I have faith in my people," Munde said.

"I have come to Latur on account of my brother's health. I don't want to make any political comment," Munde said. His younger brother, Venkatrao, was on Wednesday admitted to the Kavthale hospital in Latur after suffering a heart attack.

Meanwhile, reacting to Dhananjay's presence at the NCP event, Maharashtra BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar said his party would approach the chairman of state legislative council and seek action against Dhananjay who is an MLC.

(Agencies)