Fadnavis meets Amit Shah, discusses fate of Khadse

BJP leader Eknath Khadse during a BJP meeting to elect BJP Legislature Party leader at party office in Mumbai on Oct.28, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS) Maharastra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse | IANS
  • I have submitted a factual report to Amit Shah on Khadse. The party will direct us on further steps that needs to be taken—Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday and submitted a report that will possibly determine the political fate of his embattled cabinet colleague Eknath Khadse.

Maharastra Revenue Minister Khadse is in the eye of a storm after a Pune-based businessman accused him, his wife and son-in-law of various irregularities linked to a land deal. He is also facing allegations that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim had called him on his land phone from Karachi, where he is presumed to be living as a fugitive.

Shah, who has earlier brandished a public stance of having zero tolerence towards corruption, has demanded a detailed report from Fadnavis after pressure mounted on the Maharashtra BJP unit to expel Khadse, one of its senior leaders and the OBC face of the party in the state.

"I have submitted a factual report to Amit Shah on Khadse. The party will direct us on further steps that needs to be taken," Fadnavis was quoted as saying after meeting Shah. He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a separate matter, but reports said they discussed the controversy surrounding Khadse.

BJP sources told PTI said Shah considers allegations against Khadse "serious" and political rivals were using them to put the party in the dock over its claim of providing "corruption-free" government.

Khadse is in a spot over the purchase of 3-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation land in Bhosari allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.

However, the political stature of Khadse, an OBC leader who was a strong contender for the chief minister's post, is also weighing in the mind of the party's leadership before any action could be taken against him.

He has insisted that he has done no wrong. Sources said the two options being considered are either dropping him from the ministry or shifting him to a low profile portfolio.

A section of party leaders believe that shifting him to another department may be seen as merely a cosmetic exercise.

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