Devendra Fadnavis never opposed Eknath Khadse: Maharashtra BJP chief Bawankule

Asked about Rohini Khadses announcement of staying with the NCP SP as its state womens unit head, Bawankule said, The decision on Eknath Khadses induction into the BJP will be taken by the state and national level committees.

PTI | Pune | Updated: 07-04-2024 14:42 IST | Created: 07-04-2024 14:42 IST
Devendra Fadnavis never opposed Eknath Khadse: Maharashtra BJP chief Bawankule
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Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Sunday said state Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis never opposed veteran leader Eknath Khadse, who is set to return to the saffron party.

More than three years after he ended his 40-year-old association with the BJP following differences with state leadership and crossed over to the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (undivided), Khadse on Saturday said he will join his parent party next week in New Delhi.

Khadse had to resign in 2016 as a minister of the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis cabinet owing to a land deal case.

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.

Notably, Khadse had blamed Fadnavis and his confidant Girish Mahajan for harming his political career.

Khadse's entry into the BJP is expected to revive the party's strength in north Maharashtra region.

Asked if Fadnavis has any objection to Khadse's return to the BJP, Bawankule told reporters in Pune that, ''Devendra Fadnavis never opposed Eknath Khadse. In fact, Fadnavis treated him with utmost respect when he was with the BJP and I am a witness to it.'' ''There is a central as well as state committee of our party which looks after the new joinings. Both the committees will take a decision on Eknath Khadse joining the BJP,'' he said.

Fadnavis always extended full cooperation to Khadse when he was the cabinet minister under him, the BJP leader said, adding that personal relations with Khadse were not damaged even when he had left the party.

Bawankule, who took part in the BJP's 'Ghar Chalo' campaign here ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, said the party never refused anyone from joining it.

''A number of leaders including Ashok Chavan, Archana Patil, among others joined us. Our dupatta (the party scarf) is ready for those who want to join our party,'' the BJP leader said.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan quit the Congress in February this year and joined the BJP.

Archana Patil, the daughter-in-law of senior Congress leader and former Union home minister Shivraj Patil, also joined the BJP recently.

Eknath Khadse's daughter-in-law Raksha Khadse is the sitting BJP MP from Raver who is seeking a third term to the Lok Sabha in the upcoming elections.

His daughter Rohini Khadse is with the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar). Asked about Rohini Khadse's announcement of staying with the NCP (SP) as its state women's unit head, Bawankule said, ''The decision on Eknath Khadse's induction into the BJP will be taken by the state and national level committees. However, no induction will take place in isolation. There has to be a proper and well-thought out decision.'' The party has opened its doors for all the people who wish to join the BJP, he said. ''We do not discriminate among people joining the BJP and those switching from other political backgrounds such as the Congress,'' he said.

To a query on the seat-sharing not finalised among the ruling BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP in Maharashtra, Bawankule said, ''Most of the discussions have reached a conclusion level. Once we meet, all the decisions will be taken in just half-an-hour. We have reached some decisions unanimously.'' Elections to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will be held in five phases from April 19 to May 20 and votes will be counted on June 4.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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