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Eknath Khadse to return to BJP in next 15 days, Sharad Pawar's NCP says 'not a big loss'

Khadse quit the BJP in 2016, after almost four decades in the party. In 2020, he joined the undivided NCP after alleging that Devendra Fadnavis was trying to finish off his political career.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Mumbai Updated on: April 09, 2024 6:18 IST
Eknath Khadse, BJP, Sharad Pawar
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Eknath Khadse

Mumbai: Putting a full stop to all speculations that he will join BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Eknath Khadse has said he would be returning to the party in a fortnight.

Recently, there has been speculation about Khadse rejoining the BJP, from which he had resigned in 2016. He had first resigned as Maharashtra minister following allegations of irregularities in an MIDC Bhosari land case. In 2020, he shifted to the undivided NCP, citing concerns that Devendra Fadnavis was attempting to finish his political future.

Once one of the tallest leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, Khadse was relegated to the political wilderness for almost five years before Sharad Pawar rehabilitated him in NCP (undivided) in 2020 when he ended his 40-year-old association with the BJP.

'It is my home'

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Khadse said, "I have decided to go back to the BJP as it is my home. I have served the party for four decades. I express my gratitude towards Sharad Pawar who helped me during the distress. I have spoken to leaders like BJP national president J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. I will join the party in New Delhi in next 15 days. Once I get a call, I will visit Delhi," he said.

Khadse also expressed his gratitude towards NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar for helping him in distress.

Sharad Pawar NCP on Khadse’s decision

Reacting to Khadse’s decision, an NCP (SP) spokesperson said, “It will not make any difference to our party. It is not a big loss.”

In a significant move last year, Khadse aligned himself with Sharad Pawar when the NCP split after Ajit Pawar and eight other MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde government.

Khadse, who served as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly from 2009 to 2014, was considered a strong contender for the chief minister's post when the BJP secured around 120 seats in the 2014 Assembly polls. However, he was overlooked for the position in favor of Devendra Fadnavis. His return to the BJP is anticipated to bolster the party's influence in the north Maharashtra region.

It's noteworthy that Khadse's daughter-in-law, Raksha Khadse, currently holds a seat as a BJP MP from Raver and is vying for a third term in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, his daughter, Rohini Khadse, is associated with the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar). She expressed her decision not to follow her father into the BJP in a post on X, affirming her commitment to remain with the NCP (SP).

(With PTI inputs)

Also Read: Devendra Fadnavis never opposed Eknath Khadse: Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule

Also Read: Sanjay Raut is kingpin of Khichdi scam in Maharashtra, alleges Sanjay Nirupam

 

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