Pawar cancels tour after Khadse quarantines self

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday temporarily called off his two-day tour of north Maharashtra after former Maharashtra Minister Eknath Khadse, who recently joined the NCP, quarantined himself after his daughter, Rohini, tested positive for COVID-19.

This was to be Mr. Pawar’s first visit to the region after Mr. Khadse, hitherto an influential force in the BJP, switched his political colours following months of disenchantment with the saffron party.

According to sources, Mr. Pawar was due to visit Jalgaon, Dhule and Nandurbar districts on November 20 and 21 to strengthen the party in the northern part of the State in the wake of Mr. Khadse’s defection.

A rumoured meeting with Mr. Khadse in his stronghold in Muktainagar was also on the cards as well.

The much-anticipated tour was considered to be of significant political importance, given that Mr. Khadse was working to get several of his supporters into the NCP fold.

“As my Covid-19 test has returned positive, I have been admitted to a hospital as a precautionary measure. However, my health is perfectly fine,” Ms. Khadse tweeted earlier.

Both Ms. Khadse and her daughter have tested positive for the virus.

Khadse denied ticket

Mr. Khadse had been denied a ticket for contesting from Muktainagar – his bastion - for the 2019 Assembly polls. Instead, the BJP brass had given ticket to his daughter.

However, following her defeat in the election, Mr. Khadse has been vocal about his disenchantment with the BJP. Since the conclusion of the Assembly polls, a major schism had emerged within the State BJP leadership, with the brass fearing a possible intra-party revolt by its notable OBC leaders led by Mr. Khadse, former Ministers Pankaja Munde and Prakash Mehta and other leaders who were either denied ticket or suffered upset defeats in the election.

Upset with Fadnavis

Mr. Khadse had been severely upset with his nemesis, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, for the latter’s ‘authoritarian style’ of running the party and alleged political elimination of his potential ‘rivals’.

He had blamed Mr. Fadnavis for engineering his daughter’s defeat and denying him a ticket, remarking that there had been a ‘conspiracy’ by certain leaders within the party aimed at finishing off his political career.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Jaysingrao Gaikwad Patil resigned from the party on Tuesday for being reportedly sidelined by the State BJP brass despite having served at both the Central and State governments.

The Aurangabad-based Mr. Gaikwad, who wields influence in the Marathwada region, sent his resignation letter to the State BJP president Chandrakant Patil in the morning.

In his letter, he said he was resigning from the State unit of the party as well as from its primary membership.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:37:19 AM |

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