NEW DELHI: Controversy-hit Maharashtra’s revenue minister Eknath Khadse is in trouble with the BJP’s top leadership taking “serious note” of corruption allegations against him.
The party is not in a hurry to sack him but action is not ruled out after the June 10 election for legislative council seats. The BJP has fielded six candidates while it has the numbers for just five. “Khadse support is crucial to win these seats. At least a dozen MLAs are loyal to him,” a BJP office bearer said.
Khadse is in middle of a controversy for buying an industrial plot from Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation at allegedly less than one-sixth the market price and flouting rules. Amid growing speculation about the fate of his cabinet colleague, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday.
After the meeting, Fadnavis told reporters: “I have submitted a factual report on the matters which have come up recently. We have discussed them as well. The party will direct whatever appropriate action has to be taken ahead.” The opposition has turned the heat on the BJP, asking for the minister’s resignation. Khadse was also in news for allegedly receiving calls on his mobile from fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim.
Shah is unlikely to take action immediately under media pressure and will proceed once the dust settles down, said BJP sources. “Shah has left it to Fadnavis to sort out the matter. He has taken a strong note of the case and is keeping a close watch,” a source close to the BJP chief told HT.
But BJP’s wait and watch tactic prompted ally Shiv Sena to fish in troubled waters. Sena leader Sanjay Raut asked Fadnavis to speak on the matter since the BJP had promised corruption-free governance before coming to power.
“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, adding that Fadnavis should take a stand if Khadse has not done anything wrong.
Voices of discontent are being heard even in the BJP. Former Mumbai commissioner Satyapal Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, said that a decision should be taken soon.