Beginning his political career as a village sarpanch in north Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district, Eknath Khadse in his four decade long political career went on to become de facto number two in the first BJP-led government in the state.
It was due to the 64-year-old leader’s political clout that he held nearly a dozen of portfolios in the current cabinet, including important ones like revenue, state excise, minorities development and Wakf.
Khadse, who quit as minister in the BJP-led government on Saturday amid a string of charges, had began his career as a sarpanch of his village Kothali in north Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district.
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His exit from the ministry follows allegations of corruption, impropriety and conflict of interest as well as questions about his connection with the underworld fugitive, Dawood Ibrahim.
It was Khadse who took the lead in breaking off the BJP-Sena alliance of 25 years ahead of the October-2014 state Assembly polls.
Hailing from Leva Patil community, Khadse had positioned himself as an OBC leader, especially after Gopinath Munde’s demise while his clout in north Maharashtra was impressive.