As the Maha Vikas Aghadi of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress takes charge of the government in Maharashtra, a section of the BJP has become increasingly assertive in its criticism of the way the party handled the developments over the past few weeks.
At the forefront of these leaders is senior leader Eknath Khadse, who was in 2014 considered a contender for the chief minister's position before being pipped to the post by the much younger Devendra Fadnavis. In the aftermath of the political saga after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election, Khadse said that the BJP would have won 25 more seats if it had taken along senior leaders such as him, Vinod Tawde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule. He was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror that the BJP had proof in the "irrigation scam" (in which NCP leader Ajit Pawar was allegedly involved), but that it "sold it as raddi (scrap)."
Incidentally, Khadse resigned from the Fadnavis-led government in 2016 over corruption allegations. He was said to be involved in the purchase of a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp plot of land in Pune allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law.
Khadse on Tuesday said his party and the Shiv Sena should have amicably resolved the issues between them, post the verdict of the October Assembly elections. "Had they found some solution, it would have been better for Maharashtra," he said, apparently referring to the Sena and BJP parting ways over the former's demand for the chief minister's post.
A known detractor of Fadnavis, Khadse said he was not aware whether the promise of sharing the chief minister's post for equal term was made to the Sena by the BJP. "I feel finding a solution (for the stand-off between the BJP and the Sena) was not an impossible thing," he said.
In fact, in a recent interview with The Indian Express, Khadse said that he has an offer from the Shiv Sena, and that he is contemplating whether to accept it. If the crossover takes place, it will be a major reversal of fortunes for the BJP, considering that the party has earlier said to have engineered defections from rival parties into its fold.
Khadse is not the only one to have criticised the way in which the BJP approached the unfolding events. The Hindu quoted senior leader Babanrao Pachpute as saying, "The party changed its opinion after the court ruling. We had a meeting of the core committee which decided party has no majority and Fadnavis should resign. There should not be any horse-trading was also a common view (sic)."
Even as Khadse mulls crossing over to the Shiv Sena, the NCP, which is now in the government, has spoken of the possibility of taking back turncoats who had left the party for the erstwhile BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. The party, however, has said that such leaders will be readmitted into the party only on the basis of "merit."
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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2019 22:38:40 IST