MUMBAI: With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership taking serious cognizance of the allegations made against state revenue minister Eknath Khadse, it is unlikely that the party will take immediate action against him. However, Khadse may lose some of the portfolios he holds in the next cabinet reshuffle or expansion.
Khadse, the heavyweight from Jalgaon (north Maharashtra) is facing series of allegations over the past two weeks. But one allegation that has put him in serious trouble is his alleged links with fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim. Though Khadse strongly refuted the allegations, the charges are so serious that they compelled BJP’s central leadership to react.
Consequently, BJP national president Amit Shah on Friday said that they have taken serious cognizance of the matter. Investigation is on and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis make a decision.
The statement assumes significance as this is for the first party leadership has reacted to the controversy and used words like ‘serious cognisance’, said a senior party functionary. “With this it can be considered that Khadse is on a sticky wicket and may face some action for the controversies that has been troubling not only him but the party as well,” the senior leader said.
Ethical hacker Mani sh Bhangale and AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon alleged that seven calls were made from Dawood’s Karachi based residence on Khadse’s cell number during January to March 2015. Another charge against him is buying an MIDC plot, the title of which is not clear.
Despite this, party may not direct action against Khadse as this will lead to serious damage to its image. The move can also be used as a tool by the Opposition parties to criticise the BJP, observed a senior BJP minister.
Currently, Khadse is having number of portfolios comprising — revenue, relief and rehabilitation, minority affairs, Aukaf (Waqf), earthquake rehabilitation, animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, agriculture and state excise.
Meanwhile, in a show of strength, Khadse organised a rally in his constituency Muktainagar, Jalgaon district. Khadse said that the rally was organised to celebrate two years of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at Centre.