Mumbai: Amid reports of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ joining the Central government, veteran state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Eknath Khadse, a trenchant critic of the young leader, on Wednesday said that it would be very useful for Maharashtra if Mr Fadnavis were sent to New Delhi.
Mr Fadnavis, however, said he was not going anywhere. A senior BJP leader and former Cabinet minister also dismissed the reports as baseless and said there was no substance to them.
Mr Fadnavis, the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, had been campaigning for 12 days for the saffron party in the national capital, which is to go to the polls. Following this, he went to his hometown, Nagpur, on Wednesday night.
According to reports, a decision will be taken about Mr Fadnavis’ rumoured elevation to New Delhi after the Assembly election. Once everything is finalised, he will be sent through Rajya Sabha, the reports claimed.
Mr Khadse said it was up to senior party leaders to decide whether or not Mr Fadnavis is sent to New Delhi. “If he becomes a Central government minister, Maharashtra will benefit,” the veteran OBC leader added.
Mr Khadse shares a strained relationship with Mr Fadnavis since the former had to resign in the wake of charges of alleged corruption and reports of links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the previous BJP-Shiv Sena government.
The 67-year-old leader was the second-in-command in the Fadnavis government and the top contender for chief minister’s post before the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014.
In the wake of the BJP’s failed bid to form the government in the state, Mr Khadse, in December 2019, alleged party insiders were responsible for the defeat of his daughter Rohini Khadse and Pankaja Munde, who contested from Muktainagar and Parli respectively.
Prior to this, Mr Khadse had slammed Mr Fadnavis’ decision to form the government with the support of NCP leader Ajit Pawar. “My personal opinion is that BJP should not have taken the support of Ajit Pawar. He is an accused in the massive irrigation scam and faces many allegations,” the former minister had