MUMBAI: Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse today alleged that some of his party colleagues were trying to throw him out of the party, and dared the BJP-led government to prove his involvement in any wrongdoing.
"If I have done anything wrong, the government should prove it and bring it out before people. I need an answer now.
I don't wish to leave the party, however, some people are trying to push me out," Khadse said, speaking at an event in Jalgaon, his hometown.
Interestingly, he spoke in the presence of Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan who had recently invited him to join the opposition party.
Chavan once again said that Khadse was welcome to join the Congress.
"You take a decision. We are ready to welcome you. Don't wait for the BJP to oust you," he said.
An embarrassed BJP later issued a statement, quoting state unit president Raosaheb Danve as saying that the BJP will support Khadse once he gets a clean chit in the probe.
"Khadse is a senior leader, who himself decided to quit his ministerial post due to some reason. He has already been proved innocent in the ongoing inquiry. Once he receives a complete clean chit, the BJP will support him with full respect," Danve said in the statement.
Without naming NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was seen whispering into Khadse's ear at an event recently, Danve said a person who levelled corruption charges against Khadse in the state Assembly had no right to invite him to join his party.
Khadse is a party loyalist and will not leave the BJP, Danve added.
Only Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis can state when the probe against Khadse would be complete, he added.
Khadse, the senior-most member of the Fadnavis cabinet, resigned in June 2016 after facing accusations of misusing his official position for a questionable land deal involving his family.