Mumbai (Maharashtra): Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan resigned from the Congress party's primary membership on Monday. Chavan, son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister and former Union Minister late Shankarrao Chavan, submitted his resignation to Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Nana Patole.
He later however told reporters that he has not taken any decision on joining the BJP. In the resignation letter, Ashok Chavan, who hails from Nanded district of Maharashtra, mentioned his designation as a former MLA.
Chavan, a former MPCC chief, also served as MP of Lok Sabha from 1987 to 1989 and was re-elected to the lower house in May 2014. He was the Vice President and General Secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress Committee during the period 1986 to 1995. He served the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for three terms starting in 1999 till May 2014. He has served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra state from December 8, 2008 to November 9, 2010.
On November 9 2010, the Congress asked Ashok Chavan to resign from office over corruption allegations relating to Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai. In the 2014 general elections, Chavan was elected from the Nanded constituency but lost the seat in 2019 to BJP's Pratap Patil Chikhalikar.
Chavan is the third big name to desert the Congress ship in Maharashtra. First to quit the grand old party was former South Mumbai MP Milind Deora, who joined Shiv Sena followed by former MLA Baba Siddique. Baba Siddique joined the NCP.
Chavan said he has not taken any decision yet on joining the ruling BJP and will decide on his next political move in a couple of days. Speaking to reporters today here, Chavan said, "I am not going to discuss anything happening in the Congress party on a public forum. I have submitted my resignation to the Assembly Speaker and have also resigned from the primary membership of the Congress."
Asked about his next political move, the former Chief Minister said he will decide on it in the next two days. "I am not a person who would discuss the party's internal matters publicly. I have not spoken to any Congress MLA about my decision. I have no such intention (influencing them)," Chavan said.
To a query on if he would join the BJP, Chavan quipped, "I haven't taken any decision yet on joining the BJP, don't know BJP's working system."
"I have not communicated with any political party regarding my next move," he asserted. He also said his decision to quit the Congress is a personal one and he does not want to ascribe any reason to it. Chavan also refuted the claims that the white paper tabled in Parliament prompted him to resign from Congress.
The white paper has mentioned the Adarsh Building scam, pertaining to a housing society in Mumbai, due to which Ashok Chavan had to step down as the Maharashtra Chief Minister in 2010.
Meanwhile on whether Ashok Chavan would join the BJP, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a cryptic reply. "Several tall leaders of other parties want to join BJP. Especially, several Congress leaders are in touch with us because of the behaviour of the senior leaders. They are feeling suffocated in their party...Who all are in our contact that will be revealed soon. 'Aage aage dekhiye hota hain kya' (Wait and watch)."
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan termed Ashok Chavan's decision as "unfortunate". "This is an unfortunate decision. Never thought a person like him (Ashok Chavan) would take such a step," Prithviraj told reporters.
The former Union minister also said voters would teach a lesson to those who deserted them and left the party. Prithviraj Chavan, who was accompanied by party colleagues Balasaheb Thorat and Naseem Khan, said there was discussion about the possibility of such a move by Ashok Chavan.
"I do not think anyone from the Congress will follow Ashok Chavan. The party is holding a meeting with all its MLAs in Mumbai on Tuesday to review the situation," added Prithviraj, who is MLA from Karad South constituency.
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