Veteran Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse on Monday lamented being "humiliated" and "ignored" by the party as he landed in Delhi to meet central leaders. Khadse, who has been critical of the state leadership post-assembly polls, met NCP chief Sharad Pawar later in the evening and claimed their interaction centred around irrigation issues. He said he is scheduled to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.
The 67-year old, who has been vocal of late against some of the party's decisions after the BJP's performance in the October Assembly results, where he was denied a ticket. His daughter was fielded from his seat of Muktainagar but was defeated. He was the revenue minister of the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-government but resigned over allegations of land grab. "Khadse has sought an appointment with senior leaders of the BJP in Delhi. The chief talking point of his meeting would be about ending his alienation in the party," said a close aide. The aide claimed Eknath Khadse's treatment by BJP was causing "unrest" in the OBC leadership and this too may be discussed with Delhi leaders. Khadse belongs to the Leva Patil community, which is part of the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in Maharashtra.
Besides meeting Sharad Pawar, Khadse spoke over the phone with Maharashtra BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav. Khadse had earlier said some BJP leaders in the state had played an active role in defeating OBC leaders and had complained about it to state BJP president Chandrakant Patil as well. On Saturday, Khadse warned of looking at other options if his "humiliation" by BJP leadership continued.
"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," Eknath Khadse had told reporters adding, "But If I continue to face the humiliation of being kept away from decision-making, I will have to think differently."
Blaming caretaker CM Devendra Fadnavis for his short-lived alliance with Ajit Pawar, Khadse last week stated that the BJP should not have allied with Ajit Pawar in the first place. Citing the cases against Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam, he said that the BJP should have refrained from connecting with an accused. Khadse was denied a ticket because of allegations of abetting corruption and impropriety in a slum redevelopment project.
(With PTI inputs)