Ashok Chavan, former Maharashtra chief minister, resigned from the Congress on Monday, in yet another setback to the party’s Maharashtra unit months – before the Lok Sabha elections and state polls. Reports indicated that Ashok Chavan might join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Ashok Chavan has written to Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Pataole declaring his resignation. Earlier this morning, Ashok Chavan met Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. Ashok Chavan has remained inaccessible to the media since the meeting. Rahul Narwekar confirmed his meeting with Ashok Chavan.
When asked about reports claiming that Ashok Chavan might join the BJP, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Several leaders of the Opposition want to join the BJP. Many Congress leaders are in touch with us because they feel suffocated in their party.”
According to party sources, three Congress MLAs–Subhash Dhote, Jitesh Antarpurkar and Amar Rajurkar–are likely to follow Ashok Chavan’s lead.
The former Maharashtra chief minister’s departure assumes significance, given that two senior Congressmen – Milind Deora and Baba Siddiqui – have recently parted ways with the party. Baba Siddiqui joined the Ajit Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), while Milind Deora was inducted into the ranks of Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena.