Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse has been elevated to the post of leader of house in state legislative council after being overlook for the post of chief minister. Highly placed sources in the BJP revealed to Indian Express, “At this moment the BJP is trying to ensure power balance within the government.”
Sources said, “It was evident from the beginning that Khadse was never considered by Centre or state for the chief minister role in state. He may have been amongst the aspirants but party did not accept his candidature.”
The Chief Minister of Maharshtra, Devendra Fadnavis, is the leader of house in state legislative assembly.
According to a central BJP functionary, “In state council, which is dominated by the Congress and NCP, the party would require someone senior and seasoned as well as vocal to tackle the opposition.”
At present Khadse holds the ministry of revenue, minorities affairs and wakf board. Indications are decision to make Khadse leader of house in council was to assuage his hurt feelings. It also indicated that Centre and state have made it clear that Khadse would be number two in the government.
In the Shiv Sena and BJP government there is no deputy chief minister as party did not want a parallel power centre to create a hurdle in the functioning of Fadnavis.
After the assembly elections Khadse had thrown his hat in the race for the chief ministerial post. He had often indicated that he was not only the senior most leader but also had experience of having served in the Shiv Sena and BJP government during 1995 to 1999.
However, post election results, Centre had taken the decision to make young and dynamic BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as the first party’s chief minister of Maharashtra.
Even after formation of the cabinet Khadse’s taunts against Fadnavis continued. There were instances on how Khadse’ blunt talk often exposed his unhappiness or cracks within the cabinet.
Sources in the BJP indicated, “The Centre is clear that Fadnavis remains unchallenged as number one leader in government. And that Khadse has been specifically given the role in council because of his experience.”
It has been stated that, “Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all India president Amit Shah don’t buckle under pressure from individuals. And decisions or roles are given as per merit.”
Adding, “There is another senior minister for cooperation Chadrakant Patil who is also at equal footing with Khadse and given other responsibilities of coordination amongst the ministers.”