In a barely veiled attack on Devendra Fadnavis, sulking BJP leader Eknath Khadse said on Thursday that the current leadership of the party in
Maharashtra exhibits traits of "grudge and envy". Speaking to reporters at Parli at a function to mark the birth anniversary of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Khadse also took digs at Fadnavis's 80-hour stint as chief minister during his second term.
He also alleged a "conspiracy" behind the defeat of his daughter Rohini Khadse, and Gopinath Munde's daughter and former minister Pankaja during the October Assembly polls, but also said he was not "unhappy" with the party.Pankaja Munde was present at the event.
"Gopinath Munde was a generous and liberal leader. The current party leadership, however, possesses traits of grudge and envy," Khadse said.
"We trusted some people but they betrayed us. In just one month, Maharashtra saw an 80-hour chief minister. The time, at times, does miracles," he said.
After the Shiv Sena walked out of alliance with the BJP, Fadnavis last month joined hands with NCP's Ajit Pawar to form a government, but it lasted for only 80 hours.
"My victory in the Assembly election was certain, but I was denied ticket...my daughter was not interested in contesting but she was forced to contest," Khadse claimed.
The BJP had denied tickets to some current and former ministers and MLAs in the Assembly elections.
Those who had worked for the BJP's growth for the last few decades were now being sidelined and "insulted", Khadse, a leader from North Maharashtra who belongs to an OBC community, alleged.
"The BJP was once ridiculed as a party of upper castes and traders, but it was Gopinath Munde who worked hard and attracted people from OBC communities to the party. He helped several OBC leaders to grow and get space," Khadse said.
Later, during a speech at the program, Khadse claimed that without his nod, Fadnavis would not have become state BJP chief.
"It was Gopinath Munde who asked me to approve Devendra Fadnavis's appointment as state president. I could not say no in the face of his (Munde's) insistence."
Fadnavis was made state BJP president in 2013, when Khadse was the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
When the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the 2014 elections, Fadnavis trumped Khadse to become chief minister.
Khadse aimed another barb at Fadnavis's 80-hour government when talking about Munde's proposed memorial.
"I want to thank Devendra Fadnavis who formed 80-hour government with the help of NCP leader Ajit Pawar on November 23 and immediately sanctioned further approvals and issued work order for Gopinath Munde's memorial in Aurangabad.
Fadnavis took the decision in those three days and quit on November 26," he said.
"He formed the government only to take such decisions," Khadse added in a sarcastic tone.
"I was minister from November 2014 till June 2016. I had given orders for allocation of land for the memorial, but after my resignation, the file went into cold storage.
"It moved only after Fadnavis tried to form government with Ajit Pawar's help....I assume he did that only to clear this file," the BJP leader added.
Khadse, then seniormost minister in Fadnavis-led cabinet, had to resign in 2016 when allegations of irregularities in a land deal surfaced.