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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan quits Congress

Chavan’s exit from Congress comes days after senior Maharashtra Congress leaders Baba Siddique and Milind Deora quit the party

Our Web Desk Mumbai Published 12.02.24, 01:14 PM
Ashok Chavan

Ashok Chavan File

In a massive setback to Congress ahead of Lok Sabha elections, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Monday quit the Congress, amid speculation that he is veering towards BJP.

In a letter to state Congress president Nana Patole, Chavan (65), who represents Bhokar in the Assembly said “I am resigning from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress from the afternoon of February 12”. He also submitted his resignation as an MLA to assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.

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Chavan’s exit from Congress comes days after senior Maharashtra Congress leaders Baba Siddique and Milind Deora quit the party.

Earlier, media reports suggested that Chavan is set to align with the ruling Sena-BJP alliance in the state led by Shinde. It's alleged that he may secure a BJP ticket for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha polls. If proven true, it will mark the second major defection in Maharashtra, following Congress leader Milind Deora's departure from the party last month to join the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.

Responding to the news, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated that Congress members feel stifled within their party, hinting at the likelihood of more INC leaders defecting to the BJP soon, reports Indian Express.

According to sources within the Congress party, Mr. Chavan's disagreements with the state party chief, Nana Patole, over the selection of candidates may have been a significant factor influencing his decision to defect, reports NDTV.

Rumors of Ashok Chavan's departure from the Congress party began circulating in 2022, sparked by an incident where he and seven other Congress MLAs arrived late for a crucial trust vote against the Eknath Shinde government in July of that year, missing the opportunity to cast their votes in the Assembly. Despite persistent speculation, Chavan refrained from outrightly dismissing the reports, maintaining that he had no plans to make such a move.

Ashok Chavan, the son of the late Union minister and chief minister Shankarrao Chavan, entered politics in 1986 when he was appointed as the general secretary of the Maharashtra unit of the Congress party.

In response to Ashok Chavan's decision to switch sides, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to X (formerly Twitter) to use the metaphor of a "washing machine." This metaphor, often employed by the Congress, accuses the BJP of halting criminal investigations against opposition leaders who defect to their camp.

"When friends and colleagues leave a political party that has given them much — perhaps much more they deserved—it is always a matter of anguish. But to those who are vulnerable THAT Washing Machine will always prove more attractive than ideological commitment or personal loyalties," Ramesh said on X.

(With inputs from agencies)

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