Eknath Khadse himself is an OBC and was seen as a strong contender for the CM's chairs after the BJP-Shiv Sena's victory in the 2014 Assembly polls.
Eknath Khadse quits BJP
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse, who has been at loggerheads with the party leadership ever since Devendra Fadnavis became the CM of Maharashtra in 2014, has now hinted that he may switch sides.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Khadse said he has received offers from all parties in the ruling coalition in Maharashtra. But he is yet to take a decision on leaving BJP.
“It is a fact that I have serious reservations about BJP. I have made it public. But for the last two months, I have not met anybody from NCP or any other party,” Khadse told the daily.
“I have offers from Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena. These offers are not new. Senior leaders had in the past urged me to join their organisations. Whether it was Ashok Chavan or Balasaheb Thorat, all had approached me,” the 68-year-old politician added.
Eknath, a six-time MLA in a row from Muktainagar constituency in Jalgaon, was denied a ticket last year. He blamed internal party politics, specifically Devendra Fadnavis and Girish Mahajan, for denial of a ticket. The party fielded his daughter Rohini, but lost to Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Nimba Patil.
Citing sources, the IE report said that rumors have been making the rounds about Khadse joining the NCP after Sharad Pawar’s meeting with leaders from Jalgaon on Wednesday. It said that Pawar purportedly discussed Khadse with the local leaders.
However, NCP’s Maharashtra unit president and minister in the MVA government, Jayant Patil said that no decision was taken regarding Khadse.
“He is not joining NCP. The meeting was convened to discuss irrigation projects in north Maharashtra,” he said.
When BJP’s state uni chief Chandrakant Patil was asked about Khadse, he said, “I am confident that Khadse is not joining NCP. He is our senior leader and will continue in BJP. If there are some issues, it can be discussed in the party forum.”
Khadse has been vocal against Fadnavis for the past several months. He has accused Fadnavis of ruining his political career. Khadse was forced to resign as minister in 2016 after his name was mired in a land grab case. According to Khadse, Fadnavis had plotted to show him the door.
Khadse himself is an OBC and was seen as a strong contender for the CM’s chairs after the BJP-Shiv Sena’s victory in the 2014 Assembly polls.