Disgruntled BJP leader Eknath Khadse announced on Wednesday that he will join the NCP on October 23. Speculation had been rife over the last few days that he may quit the BJP and join the Sharad Pawar-led party.
"I have been pushed out of BJP. I am not unhappy with anyone else except Devendra Fadnavis...I haven't been given any assurance. I will be entering the party alone. No MLAs or MPs are with me," Khadse told News18.
"The then CM (Devendra Fadnavis) instructed police to register FIR against me on false allegation of harassment by a woman. He said the case would be withdrawn later. Inquiries for corruption were initiated against me in which I came clean. I suffered a lot in BJP," news agency ANI quoted Khadse as saying.
"I will be joining the NCP on October 23," he confirmed.
Khadse’s dissatisfaction with the BJP started after he was denied a ticket in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls. The ties further worsened after the debacle of his daughter Rohini Khadse in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls. Khadse has been sulking since he was made to step down as a minister in the then BJP government in 2016 on allegations of corruption.
He was also reportedly not happy with Fadnavis’s style of running the party and side-lining potential ‘rivals’ in a Machiavellian fashion. A major divide came to the fore within the Maharashtra BJP leadership after the Vidhan Sabha polls. The top leadership was wary that an intra-party rebellion would be launched by leaders like Khadse, former ministers Pankaja Munde and Prakash Mehta, and others.
After the 2019 Assembly election results, the other backward caste (OBC) leaders accused Devendra Fadnavis, the former chief minister of Maharashtra, of engineering their defeats and refusing them tickets. Notably, Khadse has also asserted that certain leaders in the state BJP unit were behind the defeats of Munde and his daughter.
He had claimed that it was a conspiracy to put an end to his political career.