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Dec 14, 2019-Saturday



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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

‘Pankaja lost due to internal rivalry’

mumbai Updated: Dec 05, 2019 01:01 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former minister Eknath Khadse on Wednesday, yet again, brought internal factionalism and restlessness within the party to the fore by claiming that Other Backward Class (OBC) leaders were being sidelined. Khadse, who met former minister and party’s OBC leader Pankaja Munde at her home, told the media that her electoral defeat was brought about by some BJP workers and leaders, who were working against the party.

“Her [Pankaja Munde] defeat in the polls, just like Rohini Khadse’s [his daughter], is because of certain anti-party activities of some workers. We discussed this. I have brought this to the notice of senior party leaders, including state chief Chandrakant Patil. Unfortunately, it seems to me that OBC leaders in the party are being sidelined,” said Khadse. “Pankaja was defeated. People like me, Chandrakant Bawankule, Vinod Tawde were not given tickets. If everyone was taken into confidence, we would have easily won another 20 seats.”

Khadse was not given a ticket to contest polls from his home turf of Muktainagar in Jalgaon in the Assembly polls, although the party gave his daughter a chance. She lost the elections to a Sena rebel candidate. Munde, meanwhile, lost the polls to her cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde.

Khadse also met Tawde before his meeting with Pankaja on Wednesday, sparking speculation that there is unhappiness brewing within the BJP, much of it directed towards former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The Fadnavis camp, however, has said that the decision to give tickets came from the party top brass in Delhi.

This is not the first time that Khadse has targeted his own party’s leadership. He had earlier slammed Fadnavis for attempting to form a government with Ajit Pawar, calling it “shameful”. “Those who lead the party should be held responsible. When party gets success, you claim a stake in that success; if it loses, you should take responsibility...” he said.

“Khadse has spoken about his criticism earlier, too, and as he has said, he has taken it up with party leadership. They will resolve this,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.