Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse on Wednesday resigned from the party. Khadse sent his resignation to BJP's Maharashtra president Chandrakant Patil wherein he declared: "I am resigning from the primary membership of BJP due to personal reasons."
His resignation came hours after NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil claimed that Khadse has quit the party and will join the Nationalist Congress Party on Friday. "He (Khadse) will join NCP at 2 pm on Friday. This will strengthen the NCP," Patil told reporters in Mumbai.
Earlier on Tuesday, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis rejected speculations about Khadse jumping the ship. He had said that there are talks every day of such kind of "muhurat".
Eknath Khadse sends resignation to BJP's Maharashtra president Chandrakant Patil.— ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2020
"I am resigning from the primary membership of BJP due to personal reasons," it reads. https://t.co/4fLbos0ukm pic.twitter.com/ELf3rPzNtv
Khadse was a senior BJP functionary from Maharashtra. He was at loggerheads with the party leadership ever since Devendra Fadnavis became the CM of Maharashtra in 2014. Khadse himself is an OBC and was seen as a strong contender for the CM’s chairs after the BJP-Shiv Sena’s victory in the 2014 Assembly polls.
The six-time MLA in a row from Muktainagar constituency in Jalgaon was denied a ticket to contest Assembly elections last year. He had then blamed internal party politics, specifically BJP leaders Fadnavis and Girish Mahajan, for denial of a ticket. The saffron party fielded his daughter Rohini, but she lost to Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Nimba Patil from here.
Khadse, who was forced to resign as minister in 2016 after his name was mired in a land grab case, had in past accused Fadnavis of ruining his political career.
Earlier on Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said that Eknath Khadse played a huge role in building the BJP in the state. Pawar had earlier held a meeting with NCP workers in Jalgaon and purportedly discussed Khadse's entry into the party fold.
Meanwhile, multiple reports suggest that the MVA government may recommend nominating Khadse to the Legislative Council from the Governor's quota. The MVA government in Maharashtra comprises Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress.