Mumbai: Finally, former BJP leader and a six-time legislator Eknath Khadse with his daughter Rohini Khadse and 71 followers on Friday joined NCP in the presence of party chief Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders.
At his maiden speech, Khadse assured that he will work for NCP’s consolidation with the same resolve and devotion that he had built BJP in the last 40 years. Khadse, who had blamed former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for running his political career, again targeted him saying that he was completely isolated for the last four years and left with no option to quit the party.
"I had to undergo a lot of struggle in the BJP. I never backstabbed. Some woman was made to make allegations against me." "I was told that if I change my party, they will put the ED behind me. I said if you put ED (behind me), I will play (your) CD," warned Khadse. He clarified that he did not worry about any inquiry but he went on to explain that if it is initiated then he will release CDs of (BJP) leaders.
Khadse said he was asked why he was joining NCP which he criticised in the past. ‘’It was similar to what you (Fadnavis) like the same party while taking the oath early morning,’’ he added while referring to the manner in which Fadnavis along with NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in last year.
A veteran leader, who hails from the Leva Patil community having a presence in at least 25 constituencies, further said, ‘’In spite of serving the BJP for 40 years, what I got was an ACB inquiry and a case of molestation. Even my seniors in Delhi suggested me to join NCP. There are many senior leaders in BJP who want to speak out but can't."
Khadse threatened that he will expose how much land some people in the BJP have acquired. However, he said he will wait for a while and later he will make revelations in this regard. "I had to face land scam allegations but now I will expose how much land some people got, wait for some time," he noted.
Khadse assured Pawar that he will work hard so that NCP can win maximum assembly and Lok Sabha seats not just in his home district Jalgaon but also in North Maharashtra.
Pawar in his address said Khadse’s organisational and administrative skills will help NCP in a big way. ‘’Khadse does what he wants. He has already assured to work for NCP gaining dominance in Jalgaon district,’’ he added.
Pawar clarified that Khadse has joined NCP without any pre-conditions and nobody is unhappy due to his entry. He also set at rest speculation that NCP ministers will be dropped to accommodate Khadse in the cabinet.
On the absence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at the function, Pawar said that he is unwell and it is necessary to take care during the present coronavirus pandemic. He pointed out that many cabinet ministers were detected Covid 19 positive.
Pawar reiterated that no changes will be made in the Maha Vikas Aghadi cabinet in Maharashtra to accommodate Eknath Khadse. Instead, Pawar said Khadse will work with state party chief Jayant Patil to spread NCP’s wings.