In a development that sparked fresh speculation about his quitting the Amit Shah-led party, Maharashtra’s side-lined BJP leader and former Minister Eknath Khadse on Monday met NCP president Sharad Pawar at the latter’s residence in New Delhi and spent more than half an hour with the Maratha leader.
Khadse, who had gone to the national Capital claiming that he was going to meet BJP’s Secretary in-charge of Maharashtra and other senior party leaders, drove down to 6, Janpat and met Pawar, with whom he apparently discussed issues relating to the manner in which he had been isolated within the BJP.
Khadse’s meeting came two days after he had warned the BJP leadership that he would look at “other options” if his “humiliation” continued within the party.
“I am not God. I am a human being and have emotions. I don’t want to leave the party for whose growth I worked hard for more than four decades. I am still ready to work for the party...But If I continue to face humiliation of being kept away from decision-making, I will have to think differently,” Khadse had said on Saturday.
Talking to media persons after meeting Pawar in the national Capital, Khadse said that he had met the NCP president to seek financial assistance for an irrigation scheme in his constituency. “At that meeting, the NCP president asked me about the defeat of my daughter Rohini in the recent State Assembly polls, he said, without elaborating on the political discussion he had with Pawar.
Interestingly enough, Khadse is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena president and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Tuesday. The reason behind Khadse’s impending meeting with Uddhav on Tuesday was not immediately known.
Khadse — who was denied BJP ticket to contest the 2019 State Assembly polls from his home constituency of Muktainagar in Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra and whose daughter Rohini was defeated in the Assembly polls — has made over the past three years made no secret of his frustrations within the BJP.
It may be recalled that on December 2, after meeting BJP leader Pankaja Munde, Khadse had made a shocking allegation after meeting her that Pankaja and his daughter Rohini Khadse in the recent State Assembly polls were defeated due to a conspiracy hatched by some party leaders.
Rohini, who was nominated by the BJP as party candidate after denying party ticket to Khadse suffered a defeat at the hands of an independent candidate Chandrakant Nimba Patil from Mukhtainagar constituency, while Pankaja was defeated by her cousin Dhananjay Munde in the October 21 State Assembly polls by a margin of 30. 701 votes in their home constituency of Parli in Beed district of Marathwada.
After his meeting with Pankaja, Khadse had said: “Some senior BJP leaders are responsible for the defeat of Pankaja and Rohini. There was a conspiracy behind the defeat of both Pankaja and Rohini. I know who were behind the defeat of both Pankaja and Rohini. I have complained to the BJP leadership. I am hopeful that action would be taken against the BJP leaders concerned”.
Khadse has been in the doghouse ever since June 4, 2016, when he resigned from his post as the State Revenue Minister over irregularities in the purchase of a plot of land at Bhosari in Pune district.
On his part, Khadse had denied that he had indulged in any wrong-doing in the Pune land deal case. Later in May last year, Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had reportedly given a clean chit to Khadse in the alleged Pune land scam case.
In January last year, the Congress had made an offer to Khadse to join its fold.
At a function where he shared platform with then Maharashtra Congress chief and State’s former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan —taken recourse to a soulful Lata Mangeshkar number from a 1966 film to express to express his anguish and said that he was being forced to leave the party.
Minutes after Khadse rendered memorable lines ‘Rehte the kabhi dil me jinke, Jaan se bhi pyaron ki tarah, Baithe hai unhi ke kunche me, Hum aaj gunehgaron ki tarah’ penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri in classic Bollywood film “Mamta” at a public function, Chavan invited the senior BJP leader to his party.