MUMBIA: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is responsible for Eknath Khadse's exit from the state cabinet, former chief minister Narayan Rane said today.
"Fadnavis took Khadse's wicket," Rane said while responding to the Revenue minister's exit from the 17-month old BJP-led ministry in the state. "On one hand, you (Fadnavis) give him a clean chit and on the other, you go to Delhi and request the party to take Khadse's resignation and also announce that the (BJP) president will declare a decision in this regard," he said.
"CM should have told him to resign and informed him that an inquiry will be conducted into the charges. But this public humiliation was unwarranted," Rane, a senior state Congress leader, said.
"BJP is targeting 'bahujan' community leadership," Rane said. So far, only ministers of Bahujan community (OBC) have been targeted, he said, in a veiled reference to corruption charges against Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde.
"BJP can no longer claim that it is not embroiled in corruption. Had Khadse resigned earlier itself, more charges would not have been made," he said. Congress leader and ex-CM, Prithviraj Chavan, however, said there was no need to bring caste or community angle in the Khadse issue.
Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve told reporters there was no truth in the allegations and that Khadse resigned to uphold moral values. Khadse has informed CM Devendra Fadnavis that he will stay away from the ministry till charges against him are proved false, Danve said.
Meanwhile, Khadse supporters staged a protest at Muktainagar in Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra. They burnt tyres at some places. Khadse, who is facing a host of allegations, handed over his resignation to Fadnavis whom he met at his official residence 'Varsha' here today, two days after the latter briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah on the issue.