The BJP has begun the process to act against Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, deploying emissaries to impress upon him to accept “wrongdoing” in a land deal in which he is facing allegations of impropriety. The party also indicated that the row over allegations that he received phone calls from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim too was not handled responsibly.
The last 24 hours saw Khadse making concerted attempts to plead his case with the Central and state leadership to defend himself on the controversies. On Friday evening, Khadse tweeted, “As a responsible agriculture minister, I am focusing on farmers’ issues. Allow me to do my work, instead of clarifying on baseless and planned allegations. An appeal to media.”
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Khadse remained confined in his home constituency Muktainagar in Jalgaon district in North Maharashtra. He attended a few functions in Jalgaon organised to pay tribute to senior leader (late) Gopinath Munde on his second death anniversary.
State BJP president Raosaheb Danve tried to underplay the developments, arguing “the charges against Khadse were political”.
While the top leadership in the party remained tight-lipped, a source said, “A series of back-channel discussions are on.” A senior Cabinet minister told The Indian Express, “There is no ambiguity on taking action against Khadse. But we want to ensure it is done graciously, weighing all the pros and cons to ensure the organisation is not adversely affected. Moreover, he has served the party for 40 years.”
From Khadse’s tweets, it was evident he has reconciled to giving up his most important revenue portfolio. And that he would be too pleased to continue as agriculture minister. At present, Khadse holds 10 portfolios, including ministry of minorities welfare, ministry of animal husbandry and ministry of dairy development, among others.