The Bharatiya Janata Party leadership’s efforts to isolate and corner senior leader Eknath Khadse received a major setback on Thursday when its senior leader Nitin Gadkari threw his weight behind Khadse.
While Gadkari expressed pain over the treatment being meted out to Khadse, the beleaguered former revenue minister targeted Chandrakant Patil by asking why he did not contest from Kolhapur.
Even after the election to the legislative council is over, the slugfest and the infighting continue. Gadkari, speaking to a private TV channel, expressed pain over the denial of a ticket to Khadse.
“What is happening with Khadse is unfortunate and painful. We both worked under the leadership of Gopinath Munde to strengthen the BJP in the state. Under adverse conditions, Khadse strengthened the BJP in north Maharashtra, leading the party to victory in this region. But the way he is being treated by his own party is painful. This should not happen with a leader who has been loyal to the party and worked for it. I can only express my anguish and will say no more,” he said. Gadkari’s statement indicated that he was upset and restraining himself, adhering to party discipline.
Khadse slams Patil
On Wednesday, BJP state President Chandrakant Patil had attacked Khadse for grabbing political benefits for his family. Enraged by these allegations, Khadse hit back while speaking to the media.
“Chandrakant Patil had no connection to the BJP for last 40 years. Patil entered active politics six years ago, that too with the blessing of the Delhi leadership. What is his contribution to the growth of the BJP in Maharashtra? He was working with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. If he has worked with the ABVP and if he were indeed as big a leader as he claims to be, he could have won from any constituency.Why did he run away from his home district Kolhapur to Pune (Kothrud) to contest the 2019 assembly polls and snatch the seat of the sitting legislator Medha Kulkarni? Patil should stop teaching me about the politics and work culture of the BJP,” he fumed.
“I have never sought a ticket for my daughter. My daughter was reluctant to contest. I had requested a chance for myself to contest, as a large number of voters hold me in great personal regard. But it was denied to me,” he said, countering Patil's attack.