Only Because of Fadnavis: Eknath Khadse Quits BJP, Set to Join NCP
There has been speculation of Eknath Khadse quitting BJP for a while.
Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Eknath Khadse has quit the party and will be joining the Nationalist Congress Party, the latter’s leader and state minister Jayant Patil said on Wednesday, 21 October.
In his resignation letter to Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil, Khadse wrote, “I am resigning from the primary membership of BJP due to personal reasons.”
Chandrakant Patil said that he received Khadse resignation letter in the morning and his resignation was accepted.
Meanwhile, Jayant Patil told ANI, “Eknath Khadse promoted BJP in Maharashtra over years. I've been informed that BJP leader Eknath Khadse has resigned from his party. We've decided to give him an entry in NCP. He will be formally inducted into NCP at 2 pm on Friday.”
‘Quitting Only Because of Devendra Fadnavais’: Khadse
Shortly after resigning, Khadse told reporters he was leaving the BJP “only because of Devendra Fadnavis".
Khadse said that he was targeted by the then Chief Minister and current Leader of Opposition Fadnavis on trumped up charges which have still not been proven.
“My family and I have been humiliated for four years... I had worked hard to build up the party in the state for 40 years and this is what I had to undergo,” Khadse told mediapersons.
Making it clear that he had no grouse against the BJP central leadership, Khadse said that "except state President Chandrakant Patil, no BJP leader has called me up so far".
‘Khadse Speaking Half Truth’: Fadnavis Responds
Responding to the allegations, Fadnavis told ANI that Khadse was saying the “half truth” and he would reply at the “right time.”
“It’s unfortunate that he resigned. He shouldn’t have resigned. As far as his allegation against me is concerned, he’s speaking half-truth. He could have complained against me to seniors. At this moment I won’t speak much on it but I’ll speak at the right time.”Devendra Fadnavis, Former Maharashtra CM, as quoted by ANI
“We tried to sort out the problems through a dialogue with him. It didn’t work out. We wish him luck. Even a small party worker leaving BJP is a loss for the party,” BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye reportedly said on Wednesday.
There had been speculation of Khadse quitting the BJP for a while but former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday had dismissed it, saying there are talks every day of such kind of "muhurat", according to NDTV.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told ANI, “If in this phase of his life, Eknath Khadse is quitting BJP with tears in his eyes after serving the party for 40 years and now joining NCP, then there must be a big reason behind his decision. 'Unki kundli jamm gai hogi'.”
Uneasy Relationship Between Khadse and Fadnavis
Forced to quit as minister in June 2016, following corruption charges when he was the de facto number 2 in the cabinet headed by Fadnavis, he was denied a BJP ticket in the 2019 Assembly elections.
Khadse pointed out that since then (2019), "no party, including Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party or Congress has ever demanded any investigations against me," despite that, he was humiliated for several years in the BJP.
"So many agencies probed me, but nothing came out... Then one lady levelled some molestation charges against me to which Fadnavis asked that a FIR should be lodged against me... This was the low-level politics played against me," Khadse said.
Having once tutored Fadnavis in legislative politics, Khadse was ironically bypassed by the central leadership when the party swept the 2014 legislative elections and chose Fadnavis to lead the government.
Since then, they enjoyed an uneasy relationship which ultimately led to Fadnavis asking Khadse – who represented the Muktainagar assembly seat from 1989 till 2019 – to quit the cabinet in 2016.
Hoping to mollify him after denying a poll ticket, in 2019, the BJP fielded his daughter Rohini Khadse-Khewalkar, but she lost the polls, after which his (Khadse's) supporters charged Fadnavis with engineering her debacle.
Who is Eknath Khadse?
Among the tallest BJP leaders in the state with huge grassroots support, Khadse, 68, hails from Muktainagar, Jalgaon, and his daughter-in-law Raksha Nikhil Khadse has been elected twice as BJP Lok Sabha MP (2014-2019) from Raver parliamentary seat.
Reputed as an efficient administrator and orator, Khadse was groomed by the late Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde, and is now expected to deflect the Opposition Fadnavis-led BJP's attacks on the MVA government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
(With inputs from ANI and IANS)
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