In a combative mood, former BJP minister Eknath Khadse warned that if he were to speak out, it would shake the entire country. Though he did not reveal anything, Khadse also made a veiled attack on Devendra Fadnavis, indicating that he should not forget who made him the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Khadse was forced to resign last month following a series of controversies, including a land deal in Pune and allegations of having made calls to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim from his mobile phone.
The former minister broke his silence during a public address in his home constituency in Jalgaon district in North Maharashtra late Wednesday evening. “Despite all the false allegations, I decided to resign. But if I open my mouth and tell the truth, it will shake the country. But let me inform that the truth will come out and those who worked to see my ouster will be exposed,” he said.
Although he did not name any individual, he gave adequate hints that his resignation was forced. What was notable was Khadse’s reiteration that the BJP got its first chief minister because of a bold decision he took to break ties with the Shiv Sena ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections. Thus, indirectly, trying to convey that Fadnavis became the first BJP Chief Minister of Maharashtra, thanks to him.
The top BJP leadership, both in Delhi and in the state, have taken note of Khadse’s outbursts but declined to make any official comment.
A senior functionary told The Indian Express, “We are closely monitoring the developments. The central leadership will seek an explanation from Khadse for his out-of-turn remarks.”
Khadse’s statement has not gone well within the party. A senior official said, “BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave their consent for the ouster following a string of allegations that coincided with the completion of two years of the BJP-led government at the Centre.”
However, a section in the BJP, argued, “Khadse who represents Other Backward Caste (OBC) may have voiced his aggression as a pressure tactic to facilitate quick completion of the judicial investigation and return to the Cabinet. Also, he wants to ensure that 10 important portfolios, which he held in the government including ministry of revenue and agriculture, are not allocated to other ministers in the ensuing Cabinet expansion.”
Reacting to the developments, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “We would like to believe that Khadse has proof to expose something very serious. Now, what could it be that would shake the country? It is possible he has laid hands on something through his conversation with Dawood or somebody else.”