Donning the hat of a ‘karyakarta’ after a long time, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appeared to be ready to take on the challenge of building back the BJP’s image, which has been dented following charges of corruption against Eknath Khadse and Girish Mahajan.
Fadnavis took almost everybody by surprise when he put up a spirited defence in favour of former Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, who was made to quit his post following charges of corruption. While arguing that the Anti-Corruption Bureau has given Khadse clean chit and has confirmed that no calls were made from Khadse’s mobile phone to/from Dawood Ibrahim nor did he have any role in the bribery case, Fadnavis said, “Since the probe in underway, I would not like to comment on the MIDC Pune land allegations. However, I am confident that Khadse would succeed in the ‘agni pariskha’ (trial by fire).”
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About Girish Mahajan, he said, “The collector report says there was no wrongdoing.”
A senior BJP functionary told The Indian Express, “He has to guard his image of being clean. But whenever allegations of corruption are propping up against his cabinet ministers, it is like a litmus test for him.”
Sources in the BJP said, “Another aspect that cannot be overlooked is the need to motivate the workers who were present at the conclave.”
Not surprisingly, Fadnavis used the party forum to connect with the party sensing the sentiments of the workers, political observers said.