10 Dec 2019
Disgruntled BJP-leader Eknath Khadse meets Pawar, meeting with Uddhav next
Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse is upset with his party and claims he was treated unfairly. This has sort of opened new doors for him, and he has been meeting several leaders since.
In Delhi, Khadse and Pawar held closed-door meeting
Khadse, who was seen as a top contender for Chief Minister's post after BJP won 2014 Assembly polls, wanted to meet the central leadership in Delhi.
After failing to do so, he met Pawar at the latter's residence and the two spoke for nearly half an hour.
Later, the BJP leader told Indian Express he will meet the Sena boss today.
Dismissing the obvious, Khadse said his meeting was apolitical
Though his meeting with Pawar sparked speculations about him switching sides, Khadse played it down.
Calling the meeting apolitical, he said, "My meeting with NCP and Sena leaders is related to a water project that was approved during the BJP-Shiv Sena government. It needs to be followed up."
Reiterating the same, NCP's Nawab Malik claimed BJP might face "repercussions" for sidelining OBC leaders.
Interestingly, another NCP leader claimed Khadse would leave BJP
However, another senior NCP leader spoke about the actual reason behind the meeting.
"Khadse is upset with his party and appears mentally prepared to leave it. He said he wants to join NCP on the condition of a cabinet berth," the leader told HT.
He even claimed Khadse has promised to bring eight MLAs from BJP, but underscored that NCP has limited Cabinet berths.
Amid buzz, Khadse confirmed BJP's actions have hurt him
As it turns out, Khadse has also hinted that his innings with BJP might end soon.
Saying he wasn't treated well, he added he might be "forced" to take a decision soon.
"I must admit that I am disappointed in the party. At least, someone should ask what the matter is and why my daughter Rohini lost the Assembly election," he said.
Apparently, Khadse wants Fadnavis's post in Assembly
While Khadse is exploring his options, the buzz within BJP is that he is merely flexing his muscles so that he gets the position of leader of opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
This position is held by former CM Devendra Fadnavis and it's highly unlikely that BJP will concede to the demands of Khadse, who is a six-time MLA from the Muktainagar Assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson said differences can be sorted out
Weighing in on the latest development, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said Khadse has contributed a lot to BJP, and he has been duly rewarded too.
"If he [Khadse] is not happy over something, then things can be sorted out by holding discussions," he added.
Reportedly, BJP Maharashtra in-charge Bhupendra Yadav and another leader Vinod Tawde have been given the task to mediate with Khadse.