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Maharashtra: Amidst political turmoil, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse meets CM Uddhav Thackeray, denies rumours of quitting BJP

Confirming to news agency ANI that he was not planning to join Shiv Sena, Khadse said: "I am not upset with BJP party, I am just upset with 2-3 leaders of the party".

Maharashtra BJP veteran Eknath Khadse, who has been critical of the state leadership after the assembly polls, met Maharastra’s newly appointed Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Maharastra’s Vidhan Bhavan today.

After the meeting, Khadse while speaking to media cleared the rumours of him quitting BJP, Confirming to news agency ANI that he was not planning to join Shiv Sena, Khadse said: “I am not upset with BJP party, I am just upset with 2-3 leaders of the party”.

This statement by Eknath Khadse seems to put an end to the speculation that he may leave Bharatiya Janata Party and join some other party.

Confirming his meeting with Khadse, CM Thackeray, earlier today, called Khadse an old associate. Thackeray also mentioned that he has a long-standing relationship with Khadse that goes beyond politics.

Speaking to the media, Thackeray said, “I will definitely meet Eknath Khadse (Khadse Bhau). In the current situation, I will call him my old associate. But apart from the political relationships, I have an old long relationship with him. I will meet him.”

The veteran BJP leader’s meeting with the Shiv Sena chief came a day after he met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in the national capital on Monday, where, the two held a closed-door meeting for around half-an-hour at Pawar’s residence.

Talking about the Khadse-Pawar meeting, NCP leader Nawab Malik said that the meeting was not political. “It was all about farmers and agrarian crisis in Maharashtra,” Malik added.

The BJP heavyweight Khadse, who was asked to quit as Maharashtra’s revenue minister in June 2016 amid charges of corruption in the Bhosari land scam, has been expressing his displeasure with Maharashtra BJP for some time. In an earlier statement, he had said that some BJP leaders in the state had played an active role in defeating OBC leaders in the recent state elections and that he had complained about it to state BJP president Chandrakant Patil as well. After this, rumours have been doing the rounds that Eknath Khadse may quit BJP as he feels that he has been steadily sidelined within the party after the graft allegations in 2016.

In fact, on Saturday, Khadse in a veiled threat said that he will be looking at other options if his “humiliation” at the hands of BJP leadership continued. “I am not God. I am a human being and have emotions. I don’t want to leave the party for whose growth I worked hard for more than four decades. I am still ready to work for the party,” Eknath Khadse had told reporters adding, “But If I continue to face the humiliation of being kept away from decision-making, I will have to think differently.”

In fact, if one’s to believe reports, NCP luminaries have also hinted that Khadse may quit BJP. Though BJP leader and former minister Ashish Shelar described the reports as baseless and false, Khadse himself remained non-committal then. “As of now, I am in the BJP, I do not know what will happen tomorrow. Prior to the assembly elections, I had an offer from both Congress and NCP, but at that time I did not accept it,” he was quoted by TOI as saying.

Earlier, Khadse confirmed agitated OBC leaders from the BJP had met him at his residence to discuss the “stepmotherly treatment given to the community by the BJP.” “The consensus was that prominent members of the community should unite and take up the cause of the community with the BJP leadership”, Khadse had said furthering that a meeting had been called to discuss these grievances on December 12 at the Gopinath Munde memorial in Parli.

According to sources, apart from Khadse, BJP leaders Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde have also been disgruntled with the party because they feel that they were sidelined in the 2019 Maharashtra State Elections. It is also alleged that the leaders feel that OBC candidates were particularly sidelined in the Assembly elections.

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