MUMBAI: The ruling BJP has dropped three top leaders as candidates for the October 21 Maharashtra election. Former minister Eknath Khadse , once the ruling BJP’s second most important leader in Maharashtra, state minister Vinod Tawde and another former minister Prakash Mehta have been benched.
Another name has been left out – Raj Purohit, an MLA once caught on camera criticising the BJP leadership.
Among all these, Eknath Khadse’s exclusion has been seen as most unexpected. He was once seen as the BJP’s number two leader in Maharashtra after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Mr Khadse had represented Muktainagar, his home turf in north Maharashtra, since 1991. Ending days of speculation, the BJP today named his daughter Rohini Khadse for the Muktainahar constituency, making it clear he would not contest this time but placating him by choosing someone from his family.
Mr Khadse has been sidelined for some time by the BJP amid charges of irregularities when he was a minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government. He had to resign as revenue minister in 2016.
Mr Khadse has emphatically denied reports that he is heading to the opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar.
“I’ve not met or had any conversation with Sharad Pawar for a year. I don’t know why is he spreading the false story of me joining NCP or even contacting him. I don’t know what responsibility party the BJP will bestow on me but I’ll remain dedicated worker of the party,” Mr Khadse said this morning.
Nervous after being left out of many lists, the 67-year-old had filed his nomination papers from his seat this week as an independent candidate.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Khadse had said, “I had told workers and others in the past too that I will contest the election if my health was in good shape.”
He added: “I am the worker who follows orders of the party. I have obeyed the party over the past 40-42 years. The orders may have been bitter for me, against my will, but I have followed the orders.”
source by ndtv