Maharashtra BJP’s senior leader Eknathrao Ganpatrao Khadse was aspiring to become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 2014, he had long desires as he is one of the prominent members before these new entries like Devendra emerged. Devendra Fadanvis and Khadse are sworn enemies; they both were two opponents in one party. Some BJP leaders whisper that the former CM hired a social activist to chase Khadse and bully him until he leaves his craving for a CM post. He was randomly caught in one or the other misconduct and controversy. First his secretary was caught taking bribes and now he is alleged for having connections with Dawood. Surprisingly AAP leader made the allegations and no BJP leader came in defense of Khadse, whereas when Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Mundhe landed in corruption charges, the entire state BJP came into the war zone to fight their battle. Looking at the entire saga one can understand, there was someone who tried to finish Khadse’s political career. Khadse has been sulking since he was made to resign as a minister in the then Fadnavis-led BJP government in 2016 on allegations of corruption. He was then denied a ticket in the 2019 Assembly elections and his daughter who was given a ticket from the seat that he represented also lost the polls. Khadse, who has been unhappy with the BJP for the last few years, has expressed his disappointment in public on various forums. He had also indicated in the past that there were offers from all three parties Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena.
Last week, Khadse skipped attending a function in Jalgaon in which former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was present. He, instead, took out time to meet NCP leader and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who had visited Jalgaon. In the recent past, Khadse had targeted Fadnavis, accusing him of ruining his political career. Khadse had accused Fadnavis of plotting against him, as he was a “strong contender to be the first OBC CM candidate. The BJP leadership over the past few days had been stating that Khadse would not quit the party.
Well, by now, we understood a lot about BJP. Its leaders have no academic degrees, some are unelected freeloaders leeching taxpayer’s money, some are crooked zero credibility lawyers always scheming how to topple non-BJP governments. They have totally antagonized vast segments of the Indian voter due to various reasons. They have not delivered on even one promise they made during elections, not sent even one corrupt politician to jail, not brought back even one dollar of stolen black money into the country. Finally, they lost to power in Maharashtra. Forget about Khadse, there are many more skeletons that are going to tumble out of BJP’s cupboard. From Chikki to CCTV and irrigation, many more scams made their ways out in public.
Khadse was the Finance minister and later he added the irrigation ministry portfolio in Shiv Sena – BJP government. He was elected six times from his constituency. He had taken various issues of Maharashtra and specifically some of the burning topics of Maharashtra to the assembly. He stands out in assembly sessions by his speech. He is a prominent figure for farmer’s issues. He started his political career from the university elections. One productive leader is highly ignored just because Modi wanted puppets to rule the state on his behalf.
The Aam Aadmi Party demanded that the Maharashtra government conduct an inquiry into the claims that Khadse’s mobile number featured in the call logs of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s wife. It demanded that Khadse resign his post to ensure a fair investigation. The Mumbai police crime branch carried out a full data analysis of the number that the AAP alleged belonged to Khadse but no conclusion is drawn till today. Those days some so-called ethical hacker Mahesh Bhangale, who addressed the press conference with the AAP, claimed that he procured the list of call details from the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) by impersonating Mehjabeen Shaikh, Dawood’s wife, and sought phone usage details from September 5, 2015, to April 6, 2016. The list of the most-dialed numbers that he got had one U.K. number, four Dubai numbers, and five Indian numbers. After all these series of drama, Mumbai cops gave him a clean chit. After the BJP failed to retain power in Maharashtra, Khadse had been among a section of leaders who were openly critical of the way Fadnavis handled the polls.
The exit of Khadse, who quit the saffron party to join the Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar, is being viewed as a big setback for BJP which seems to be struggling at the moment in Maharashtra. The saffron leadership should now be worried that Khadse’s move to quit the party, which he served for nearly 35 years, may soon erode its OBC vote bank in Maharashtra. The party’s fears are not totally unfounded since Khadse has long been the party’s OBC face in Maharashtra ever since the death of Gopinath Munde – another towering BJP leader in the state. It is also a well-known fact that Khadse, along with former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, had worked tirelessly in strengthening the BJP in Maharashtra, especially in the OBC pockets of the state.