JALGAON (MAH), Dec 7 (AGENCIES): Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse issued a veiled warning to the party leadership on Saturday that he would look at other options if his `humiliation’ continued.
He also said that he had submitted to the party leadership `evidence’ of anti-party activities which led to his daughter’s and other BJP candidates’ defeat in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly polls.
Khadse met Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil after a meeting of the party’s North Maharashtra core committee here.
Speaking to reporters later, he said over the years, he has been kept out of the core committee’s meetings and decision-making process of the state BJP.
“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,” the former minister said.
“But If I continue to face humiliation of being kept away from decision-making, I will have to think differently,” he said.
To a question about his statement that Other Backward Class (OBC) leaders in the BJP are being sidelined, Khadse said, “It is not me but party workers feel so. OBC and Bahujan Samaj (a term generally used to denote non-Brahmin communities) leaders have toiled hard, giving blood and sweat for the party’s growth.
“The party leadership should heed the sentiments of workers and take corrective action. I have been maligned and all kinds of inquiries were set up. If I am guilty, take action. But I have been deliberately maligned and insulted so that I am not in contention for any party job,” he alleged.
Khadse, who was the senior-most minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government which came to power in 2014, had to resign over allegations of irregularities in a land deal involving his family.
Speaking about his meeting with the state BJP chief, Khadse said he has submitted all details about “anti-party activities” which led to defeat of party candidates in north Maharashtra to Patil.
“He asked me not to go public with these details since they were internal issues. He assured me that he would take up the matter with party chief Amit Shah and working president J P Nadda,” Khadse said.
Patil later told reporters that he assured Khadse in their one-to-one meeting that action would be taken against those responsible for the defeat of party candidates.
“If anyone is responsible, action would be taken,” the state BJP chief said. Khadse’s daughter Rohini was among those who lost the election. “I have all the proof with names of the individuals who were responsible for BJP’s electoral losses,” Khadse had said earlier in the day.
He also took potshots at his BJP rival from the region, Girish Mahajan. “Mahajan had said if Khadse had proof he should reveal details. I have submitted the information to the state party president. If he permits I am ready to hold a press conference and disclose everything,” he said.
On Wednesday, Khadse had launched a veiled attack on Fadnavis for the party’s sub-par performance in the elections. Some party leaders were responsible for the defeat of his daughter Rohini from Jalgaon and former minister Pankaja Munde from Parli, he had claimed, seeking action.
The BJP had won 122 out of 288 seats in Maharashtra without alliance with the Shiv Sena in 2014. In the 2019 elections, fought in alliance with the Sena, it won 105 seats. The Sena, subsequently, broke off its ties with the BJP over the chief minister’s post and formed government with help from rivals NCP and Congress. Apart from Khadse, former ministers Vinod Tawde, Prakash Mehta and Chandrashekhar Bawankule had been denied tickets this time.