Former Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse indulged in a massive show of strength on the occasion of his 64th birthday. Despite resigning from the cabinet Khadse proved that he enjoys the confidence of party workers and residents of Jalgaon in his home constituency. Khadse has a strong foothold over north Maharashtra and it was a tough decision for Fadnavis government to ask him to step down from various posts after reports about him receiving calls from Dawood Ibrahim’s phone had surfaced. Maharashtra BJP President Raosaheb Danve and Agricultural Minister Pandurang Phundkar had attended Khadse’s birthday ceremony.
In a function held at Muktainagar, Jalgaon Khadse said, “I may or may not hold any post in the government but people still remain loyal with me. Party workers have stood by me in this hour of crisis and I am thankful to them. The allegations made against me are baseless and I am innocent. I had tendered my resignation as I didn’t want to damage the image of my party.”
Khadse performed a pooja at Sant Muktai temple on the occasion of his birthday. Later party activists cut a cake and took a procession in the city. Both Danve and Phundkar were confident that soon Khadse will be cleared of all charges.
“The law will take its own course and I have full faith in the judiciary. The opposition parties have deliberately made false allegations against me to tarnish my political career. Those people who are making allegations against me must provide evidence in support of their claim. I have worked hard for 40 years to build my career and I had become the party’s face from north Maharashtra. I have never seen such kind of a media trial in my life. I could have easily won election by contesting as an independent candidate but I wanted to support my party. I am ready to fight a battle against everybody except my party and I will remain loyal towards it,“ he added.
He also blamed the media for publishing news without checking facts. “The entire media and opposition parties had trained their guns against me which is unjustified. There was immense pressure on me to step down from cabinet,” added Khadse.
Khadse was involved in controversies with a questionable land deal in Pune and an alleged demand for bribe by his close aide Gajanan Patil for a land allotment case in Kalyan. Moreover, his mobile phone number allegedly appeared in the call records of most wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.