The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday released its fourth list of candidates for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. However, the names of former senior ministers Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde, and Prakash Mehta have been left out.
Khadse was once BJP’s second most important leader in Maharashtra. However, the party fielded his daughter Rohini Khadse from Muktainagar Assembly constituency.
Both Khadse and Mehta are among the high profile leaders whose names are missing, and both of them faced corruption charges. Khadse resigned as a revenue minister in 2016 following charges of irregularities from the Devendra Fadnavis-led government.
Earlier in the day, Khadse denied reports that he was joining Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, NDTV reported. “I’ve not met or had any conversation with Sharad Pawar for a year,” Khadse said. “I don’t know why is he spreading the false story of me joining NCP or even contacting him. I don’t know what responsibility party the BJP will bestow on me but I’ll remain dedicated worker of the party.”
The 67-year-old BJP leader had filed his nomination papers from his seat earlier this week as a candidate. He is likely to withdraw his candidature.
On Thursday, Khadse had said that he will contest polls if his health “was in good shape”.
“I am the worker who follows orders of the party,” he had said. “I have obeyed the party over the past 40-42 years. The orders may have been bitter for me, against my will, but I have followed the orders.”
Elections to the 288-seat legislature will be held on October 21, and the results will declared three days later. The BJP’s main ally is the Shiv Sena. The Republican Party of India (Athawale), the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, the Shiv Sangram Sanghatana and the Rayat Kranti Sena are the other members of the alliance.
In 2014, the BJP won 122 seats, and the Shiv Sena 63. The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance is the main Opposition group.
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