Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday had to face fire from the Opposition for his strong defence of senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse a day earlier.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Dhananjay Munde even demanded his resignation over the issue.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the BJP’s state executive meeting in Pune on Saturday, Fadnavis had said that allegations being raised against his ministers — Women and Child Development minister Pankaja Munde, Education minister Vinod Tawde and Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan — were “false propaganda” by the Opposition. He has also said Khadse, who is facing an inquiry over allegations of impropriety and graft, would come out unscathed after the “agnipariksha (trial by fire)”.
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On Sunday, the NCP targeted “Mr. Clean” Fadnavis, by questioning how he was issuing a “clean chit” to Khadse when an inquiry was to be conducted. “His clean chit to Khadse is as good as a permission to ministers to persist with graft,” Munde tweeted.
While Fadnavis’s defence of his tainted colleagues is being seen in political circles as the BJP’s attempt to keep its flock together ahead of local body polls in 26 zilla parishads and 10 municipalities including Mumbai, state functionaries admitted that the CM’s own ‘clean’ image was on the line.
The BJP had come to power in Maharashtra on the promise of ‘zero tolerance’ to corruption.
Meanwhile, it has come to light that both Khadse and Mahajan had concealed in their election affidavits the fact that they were directors of Tapi Purni Sugar Factory Ltd . Land purchased by the firm’s directors purportedly to set up a sugar factory in Jalgaon’s Bhusawal is already under scanner.