Former Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse on Friday joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the presence of the party's chief Sharad Pawar.
Khadse, former Maharashtra Revenue Minister and also an ex-Leader of Opposition in state Assembly, was inducted into the NCP at the party's head office in Mumbai.
Speaking at the press conference, Eknath Khadse said he spoke to BJP's high command and asked about his position in the party. The BJP high command said they have no future for me in the party and told me to join NCP, said Khadse. "I left BJP as it was the general feeling of my supporters to join NCP," he added.
Eknath Khadse further said, "Molestation offence was registered against me. Twice anti-corruption bureau inquiry was set up against me on how many plots I have purchased. I will show them how many plots they have purchased. I will demand an inquiry against them."
The senior politician, who immensely helped BJP to strengthen their foothold in Jalgaon and northern Maharashtra, will now look to swing it in NCP's favour.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Khadse joining NCP will give the party a boost in the region. "Young generation wants to join the party but there is a need to spread party foothold in north Maharashtra. Party will get a boost as now Eknath Khadse has joined today," Pawar said. "Jalgaon will become NCP-dominated district as assured Khadse," he added.
Pawar further added that Khadse has not made any demands but has assured to work to uplift the downtrodden. "There is no change in the NCP ministers, nobody will be dropped. But now with Eknath Khadse the party will grow," he said.
Sulking since his unceremonious exit from the Devendra Fadnavis-led ministry in 2016 over land grab allegations, Khadse (68) on Wednesday had quit the BJP. The same day, state NCP chief Jayant Patil announced he would be joining the Pawar-led party.
The leader, who flew in here on Thursday from his native Jalgaon district in north Maharashtra, was in political wilderness during the last four years, though he quit the BJP only two days ago.