Openly defying the party, BJP's Eknath Khadse on Tuesday filed his nomination from Muktinagar constituency for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. Khadse's nomination came hours after the BJP released the list of its candidates for the Assembly polls but his name was not there in the list.
Speaking about his move to go against the party's decision, Khadse said that though his name was not in the first list of 125 candidates released by the party, it was still possible he would get a ticket. He said that he is a loyal member of the party and has been part of the decision-making in Maharashtra BJP.
"I've filed my nomination today. My name is not in the list issued by party, but possibility of me getting ticket cannot be ruled out. I don't know if this seat is going to be with Shiv Sena or with BJP, what I know that I've been a loyalist to BJP for past 42 years.
"If being loyalist to the party is a crime, then yes I am a criminal. In the past 25 years from the times of Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde ji, I was the part of decision-making bodies in BJP Maharashtra. I decided tickets for others," the BJP leader said.
Earlier in the day, the BJP had released its first list of candidates for the upcoming state Assembly elections on October 21. The list, which had some big names like CM Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who recently quit teh Congress and joined the BJP, Khadse's name was missing.
While Fadnavis will contest from Nagpur South West, Chandrakant Patil and Pankaja Munde were fielded from Kothrud and Parli seats, respectively. Another prominent face and minister in the Fadnavis Cabinet, Girish Mahajan, will contest from Jamner seat.
The first list of canidates released by the BJP has the names of only 91 sitting MLAs. The party has denied tickets to 34 sitting legislators and Khadse was among them. Another big name that was missing from the list was of Vindo Tawade.