Clean chit to Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse may not mean easy comeback
The clean chit to Khadse was a strategic move by the party leadership, given that the leader has a mass following in the state, a BJP leader saidUpdated: May 03, 2018 12:04 IST
After receiving a clean chit by the anti corruption bureau (ACB) in the alleged MIDC land scam on Tuesday, former revenue minister Eknath Khadse may have moved a step closer to political rehabilitation.
However, according to a senior BJP leader and state functionary, an immediate political comeback may not be possible as the case is still pending in court.
The clean chit to Khadse was a strategic move by the party leadership, given that the leader has a mass following in the state, particularly within the Leva Patil community in North Maharashtra, the BJP leader added.
The Leva Patil is classified as an Other Backward Class (OBC) community.
A BJP minister also pointed that the developments took place soon after the party’s grand show of foundation day at the Bandra Kurla Complex last month, in the presence of party president Amit Shah. After the convention, Shah held a core committee meeting with key leaders, which included Khadse.
“It is true that he will not be able to make a comeback with immediate effect, even if the cabinet reshuffle takes place within the next few days. However, the clean chit will help in clearing the allegations levelled against him, ahead of the general elections scheduled to be held next year,” said the minister, who did not want to be named.
“There were certain indications by the party leadership during the convention in Mumbai. After all, Khadse is a mass leader with a sizable following in some parts of the state,” added the minister.
Within hours of the report of the clean chit, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil had said that he would like to have Khadse in his cabinet. He believed that the allegations against him were baseless and Khadse faced an ‘acid test’ just to come out clean, said Patil.
“A group of leaders in state and in Delhi would not easily concede to induct Khadse into the cabinet. Khadse was asked to contest the Rajya Sabha polls in March. He had accepted the proposal on the condition that his daughter-in-law, Rakshan Khadse, who is an MP from Raver, Jalgaon will continue to contest the Lok Sabha elections. However, the seat was denied to him at last minute,” another leader said.
Party insiders believe that in view of the rise in general discontent against the party, ignoring an OBC leader like Khadse would negatively impact the party’s prospects.
“The elections to the Jalgaon municipal corporation are expected to be held in next few months. The clearing of allegations against Khadse will help the party in winning the local elections,” said a former BJP legislator from Jalgaon.