A DAY after joining the ruling ally NCP, senior politician Eknath Khadse was accorded a hero’s welcome at his home town Muktainagar in Jalgaon here on Saturday, and he vowed to give ‘tension’ to the BJP. Hundreds of workers stopped his motorcade at various locations outside the town, cheering him, women performing ‘aarti and tilak’, and others garlanding him or offering bouquets and sweets. Many raised slogans of “Eknath Khadse aage badho, hum tumhare saath hai’, ‘Khadse zindabad’, as the Khadse family, including wife Mandakini and daughter Rohini Khadse-Khevalkar, finally reached home and later addressed a crowded press conference. In stark contrast, the normally bustling BJP office in Muktainagar wore a completely deserted look and nobody arrived to even unlock it for the day.
“Those who had traumatised me for the past 4 years, now I will give them tensions,” Khadse roared. , a day after he issued a veiled threat to his former party which he served for over 40 years. Welcomed into the party by NCP President Sharad Pawar and a galaxy of top leaders on Friday, Khadse had declared that if they (BJP) hounded him with the ED (Enforcement Directorate), he would “show them the CD.” He also dropped hints at making revelations like “who has grabbed how much land”, besides assuring that he would work “double-hard” to build up the NCP in north Maharashtra, portending tough days ahead for the Opposition.
He reiterated that he had not made any demands from the NCP but would strive to work for the people of the State and ensure the welfare of north Maharashtra through the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Several former BJP activists who threw in their lot with Khadse, predict gloomy days ahead for the Opposition party (BJP), “not only in Jalgaon, but in entire north Maharashtra (Khandesh) region” which comprises Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik districts.