NEW DELHI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday submitted a report to BJP chief Amit Shah on his cabinet colleague Eknath Khadse who has been under Opposition fire over allegations of corruption and being in touch with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and hinted at “appropriate action”.
Fadnavis met Shah at the BJP headquarters as the controversy over Khadse intensified making it difficult both for the party and the state government to defend him.
Emerging from the meeting, the Chief Minister said, “I have submitted a factual report on the matters which have come up recently. We have discussed them as well. The party will direct whatever appropriate action has to be taken ahead.”
Fadnavis’ statement meant trouble for Khadse, who holds the revenue portfolio in the government. However, state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve defended Khadse asserting that he had done nothing wrong. Khadse has been in the news for allegedly receiving a call from Dawood, and also over alleged impropriety in purchase of land belonging to the government-owned MIDC in Pune at a throwaway price.
According to BJP sources, Shah considers allegations against Khadse “serious” and is concerned that political rivals are using them to put the party in the dock over its claim of providing “corruption-free” governance. However, one view within the party is to let the dust settle down, as nothing concrete had been proved. Taking any action against Khadse, a section of leaders believe, may prove counter-productive as it did in the case of B S Yeddyurappa in Karnataka.An influential OBC leader, Khadse is believed to have support among MLAs and local corporators. He was a strong contender for chief minister’s post. Two options were being considered. One is to drop him from the cabinet and the other is to shift him to a low-profile ministry. But some party leaders say shifting him may be seen as a cosmetic exercise.