Joining the chorus for Maharashtra Revenue minister Eknath Khadse’s ouster over allegations of wrongdoings, Shiv Sena today reminded ally Bharatiya BJP of its promise of a corruption-free rule and demanded Chief Minster Devendra Fadnavis to clarify his stand on the issue.
The BJP, however, retorted saying the Sena should stop interfering in its internal affairs and that the party leadership was capable of taking a call on the issue.
“Eknath Khadse is a senior leader of the BJP and at a time when allegations are being leveled against him, he is the only one answering everybody. The Chief Minister is not speaking on the issue at all,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters here.
“The CM should immediately speak on the issue. The BJP, before coming to power, had promised of corruption-free governance and today serious allegations are being leveled against its leader. There seems to be inconsistency in the promises made by the BJP,” he said.
Raut said if Khadse has not done anything wrong, the CM should come forward and say so.
“The BJP should maintain moral standards. We will take a stand on the issue once the CM speaks on the demand for Khadse’s resignation,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, however, said that party president Raosaheb Danve has already backed Khadse over the issue.
“The Sena should stop advising the BJP and stop interfering in our internal matters. We have already taken a clear stand on Khadse and the BJP leadership is capable enough to take the necessary decision over the issue,” he said.
Khadse has found himself embroiled in a series of controversies over allegations of impropriety in purchase of a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation land in Pune and alleged calls from fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim’s residence to his mobile.
It is also alleged that when he was a minister in Shiv Sena-BJP government in late 1990s, he had conceived the Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation and got awarded contracts to his relatives and supporters.
Also, a plot purchased by Khadse’s wife in April 2012 was not mentioned in Khadse’s election affidavit in 2014, and the user (the stipulated purpose for which the land is to be used) was changed arbitrarily from educational purpose to residential.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan demanded that Khadse be immediately sacked and a case registered against him.
Former AAP leader Anjali Damania has launched a hunger strike demanding an inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Khadse and has sought his ouster from the state cabinet.