Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader from Jalgaon, Eknath Khadse - who suffered a heart attack on November 5 - called up Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to express his gratitude for helping save his life.
The two Eknaths - both staunch political rivals - enjoyed a brief telephonic conversation in warmth and camaraderie late Friday night.
"I thanked the CM for his prompt help... I also told the CM that if he had not sent his air-ambulance promptly that evening, my life would have 'taken off' from this world!”, a cheerful sounding Khadse told IANS from his hospital bed today.
The 71-year-old leader revealed how after he suffered a cardiac arrest at his native Jalgaon his aides had decided to book an air-ambulance as a precaution, to shift him to Mumbai or any other location as required.
"However, that air-ambulance did get the air traffic control (ATC)'s clearance for taking off, for some reasons..." he recalled.
Then, his daughter and state NCP Women's Wing President Rohini Khadse got into the act and called up the CM to request for ATC's permission for the air-ambulance to fly to Mumbai.
To the Khadse's pleasant surprise, the Chief Minister countered with an offer to send another air-ambulance, kept on standby for the government, to fly to Jalgaon and pick up the ailing NCP leader.
Accordingly, late on Sunday, Khadse, a Member of Legislative Council, was airlifted to the Bombay Hospital where he was put under the care of some of the top cardiac specialists in the city.
Three days later, around Wednesday, Khadse underwent a successful angioplasty and has recovered very well from the nasty health scare that sent concerns in NCP and state political circles.
"I would personally like to convey that I am feeling perfectly fine and there’s no cause for any worry. I am getting discharged from the hospital this afternoon. I shall rest and recuperate at home for the next few days and then resume my normal activities," assured Khadse with a smile.
During his sojourn in hospital, daughter Rohini and other family members, plus a team of medicos from Jalgaon and Mumbai kept a keen eye on his health and medical progress, with several party activists around for any help.
Senior political leaders including NCP President Sharad Pawar, Working President Supriya Sule, senior leader Nawab Malik, and others from different parties, called on Khadse, a political heavyweight from Jalgaon and surroundings, to enquire after his health.
A former minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader for over 40 years, Khadse quit to join the NCP in 2020 after certain differences with the saffron party leaders and allegations, denied a party ticket in the 2019 Assembly elections, but was elected as a NCP MLC in 2022.