A day after quitting the BJP, senior leader Eknath Khadse stepped up his attack on former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, saying that his arrogance resulted in the saffron party losing power in the state in the last assembly elections.
Khadse also took a dig at Fadnavis over his 'Mi punhayein' (I will come back) refrain he used during the poll campaign and asked why he did not say "we will come back" instead.
Talking to a regional news channel, Khadse said, "Devendra Fadnavis is such a capable leader that he dethroned his own party from power in the 2019 assembly elections. Instead of stressing on 'I will come back', why didn't he say 'we will come back'?" he said.
"It was his arrogance that led to BJP's loss of power after the 2019 assembly polls," he said.
Sulking since his unceremonious exit from the Fadnavis-led ministry in 2016, Khadse on Wednesday quit the party and is set to join the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Khadse (68) had blamed Fadnavis for "trying to destroy his life" and political career.
Responding to his allegations, Fadnavis had said, "If he had complaints about me, he would have told seniors of the party."
On this, Khadse said, "I did visit Delhi and met senior BJP leaders (over my grievances), but I was disappointed. Every time I went there, I was asked to discuss the issues with Fadnavis."
"After I stepped down as a state minister, Fadnavis never found time to go to Delhi for me and resolve the issues," he said.
Khadse, the seniormost minister in the Fadnavis ministry, had resigned as revenue minister in 2016 over land grab allegations, and was since then largely sidelined in the BJP.
Meanwhile, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that NCP chief Sharad Pawar must be having some plans for Khadse, who left the BJP after serving that party for 40 years.
"I cannot comment over the matter, though I have seen on what grounds Khadse wants to join the NCP. Sharad Pawar is the seniormost politician in Maharashtra and he must be having some plans for Khadse as he is inducting him into the party."
"Pawar might have discussed his induction with the party leaders as well. I think it will be better to seek his reaction over the issue," he said.