In a big jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), senior leader Eknath Khadse is all set to join the NCP on Friday. On Wednesday, NCP State President and Minister Jayant Patil told mediapersons that Eknath Khadse has quit the BJP after serving the party for over 35 years and will join NCP on Friday at 2 pm.
Eknath Khadse is a prominent leader in Jalgaon district, Maharashtra. He was instrumental in expanding the BJP in the state and has held important responsibilities in the state government as a Minister and Leader of the Opposition.
In 2014, a BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government came to power in Maharashtra. This led to Devendra Fadnavis being appointed as the Chief Minister. And, Khadse has been upset ever since. In 2016, Eknath Khadse was made to resign as a minister in the then BJP government on allegations of corruption. Since then he has been away from the political scene.
For the past few years, he had distanced himself from active politics. He felt that he was being treated unfairly by the BJP and had expressed his displeasure time and again.
Here's a look at Eknath Khadse's political journey:
- Eknath Khadse's political journey began with the Gram Panchayat elections. He had to face defeat in the first Gram Panchayat election.
- In 1987, he became the Sarpanch of Kothadi village.
- In 1989, he won the first MLA election from Muktainagar Assembly constituency on a BJP ticket.
- He started his political career with BJP in 1980. He played an important role in increasing the BJP's base in North Maharashtra and created his own image as an OBC leader.
- The first Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government came to power in Maharashtra in 1995. During the first term of the coalition government, he was in charge of finance and irrigation.
- From November 2009 to October 2014, he was the Leader of the Opposition in the state. He has an effective rhetoric and the art of presenting issues.
- Eknath Khadse resigned from the post of Revenue Minister on June 3, 2016 due to allegations of abuse of office and corruption.
- BJP did not give him candidature in 2019 assembly elections. Instead of Khadse, BJP gave ticket to his daughter Rohini Khadse. Shiv Sena's Chandrakant Patil defeated Rohini Khadse by a narrow margin.
- Eknath Khadse has been MLA Muktainagar Assembly constituency for six time in a row till 2019.