Day after meeting Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse calls on CM Thackeray
There has been speculation that Maharashtra BJP?leader Eknath Khadse, who is upset with his party for being sidelined, may quit the party and is in talks with both the NCP and Sena for an alternative.Updated: Dec 11, 2019 10:07 IST
The ongoing political drama in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over sulking senior leader Eknath Khadse continued on Tuesday, when he met chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at the Maharashtra state legislature in Mumbai for half-an-hour. A day ago, he had met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in Delhi.
There has been speculation that Khadse, who is upset with his party for being sidelined, may quit the party and is in talks with both the NCP and Sena for an alternative. This is also being seen as a pressure tactic to get a nomination in the Legislative Council. Khadse has denied this. “I am not angry and no one has been sent to appease me by the party. But some of us have been talking about our party results and why we could not form the government,” he said.
After the meeting with the CM, he claimed that he had met Thackeray, much like Pawar, to speed up construction of two irrigation projects worth Rs 6,000 crore in his district. He said both the projects had got clearance from the National Water authority and could be expedited if Thackeray and Pawar supported them.
At the same time, in a veiled attack against former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Khadse alleged that he also sought Thackeray’s favour to speed up a project to build a memorial for former BJP leader Gopinath Munde, which could not be completed in the BJP government’s tenure. “When I was the minister, I had identified land in Aurangabad to build a statue of Gopinath Mundeji. It would have cost not more than Rs 30 crore. After I left the cabinet, this project did not move ahead. I requested Thackeray to clear this project on the occasion of his birth anniversary on December 12,” said Khadse.
Former minister Pankaja Munde will hold a rally at her home turf in Beed, on the occasion of her father’s anniversary. This platform is increasingly being seen as that of a group of dissenters within the BJP. The party had sidelined five senior leaders by not giving them tickets to contest state Assembly polls in October. Besides Khadse, former ministers Vinod Tawde, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Prakash Mehta and former Mumbai chief Raj Purohit were denied tickets. All these leaders are now headed to Munde’s function on December 12. Munde is said to be upset post her electoral defeat and her aides have indicated that they suspect foul play.
Khadse had met Munde prior to his meeting with Thackeray.
“What we are witnessing is a political drama to pressurise the party and angle for the available posts, including Leader of Opposition in the Council and state party chief. However, these decisions will not be made under pressure by the top bosses,” claimed another BJP leader.
The BJP has commissioned Tawde along with Maharashtra incharge Bhupendra Yadav to mediate with Khadse in a bid to control damage, but the latter seems in no mood to relent. “There is nothing wrong if Khadse feels slighted. He has contributed a lot towards the party. But we are confident he will not leave the BJP,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar. Meanwhile, the party held its state executive committee late on Tuesday night to finalise the strategy for the upcoming winter session. “The winter session will only be a formality as the parties have been unable to even divide the portfolios. Whom can we address our questions to,”asked Fadnavis.