Hours after senior BJP leader in Maharashtra Eknath Khadse quit the party, Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party president Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday recalled that Khadse had earlier said, whatever happens, he will not take this step. In a big setback to the BJP, Khadse quit the saffron party which he served for nearly 35 years.
Khadse will join the NCP on Friday, said Maharashtra minister and state NCP chief, Jayant Patil. “He (Khadse) will join NCP at 2 pm on Friday…This will strengthen the NCP,” Patil told reporters.
Patil also said that it would have been had Khadse not resigned as he “had his own place in the party”. “I have received the resignation of Nathabhau (Khadse) this morning and I have accepted. It was better if he did not resign..he had his own place in the party,” he said.
He added, “Many times he had said that he will not take any action whatever happens…but he has resigned..this is the bitter truth. He will join a new party and we wish him all the best for that.”
“We were hopeful that no matter how angry he was, Nathabhau will not take these steps. He will speak but we will go ahead and take the step…but cannot avoid what has to happen. We all wanted him to lead the party. We were trying but failed. Every attempt does not succeed,” he further added.
Jayant Patil also hinted that other BJP leaders, including several activists at various levels, are likely to follow Khadse’s suit. He further said elected legislators could also leave the BJP at a later stage.
There had been intense speculation about Khadse quitting the BJP for a while but former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had dismissed it on Tuesday, saying there are talks every day of such kind of “muhurat”.
As per news agency PTI, Khadse was upset ever since he was made to resign as a minister in the then Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in 2016 on corruption allegations.
Notably, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had on Monday said that Eknath Khadse, as the leader of the opposition earlier, played a significant role in building the BJP in Maharashtra. “He would criticise us and we would take note of it,” Pawar had said.
“One is bound to feel disturbed if his contributions and hard work are not taken note of. He may think why shouldn’t he shift to a party which appreciates his work,” the NCP leader had added.
All this had triggered huge speculations about Khadse joining the NCP in Maharashtra.