Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra Ashok Chavan has quit the party. Reports suggest that he is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The development comes as a big blow to the Congress for which Ashok Chavan was considered one of the most prominent figures in Maharashtra.
Ashok Chavan is the second big Maharashtra Congress figure to quit the party in a week. Last week, Former Maharashtra minister and Congress' Muslim face in Mumbai, Baba Siddique, had quit the party and joined NCP.
Reacting to Ashok Chavan quitting the Congress, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said 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," Fadnavis said.
Ashok Chavan served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from December 2008 to November 2010. He has also served as Minister for Cultural Affairs, Industries, Mines and Protocol in the Vilasrao Deshmukh government. Chavan is also a former PWD Minister of Maharashtra.
On November 9, 2010, the Congress Party asked him to resign from office over corruption allegations relating to Adarsh Housing Society scam. The Adarsh Housing Society scam pertains to the 31-storey apartment complex built in Colaba in South Mumbai for 1999 Kargil war heroes and war widows.
In 2010, it was revealed that politicians, the bureaucracy and military officials colluded to violate rules over land ownership and other norms to get flats allotted to themselves and their relatives.
In the 2014 general elections, despite the allegations, Chavan won the Lok Sabha election from his Nanded constituency in Maharashtra with a comfortable margin. In 2015, he was appointed the president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee.
Chavan lost his Nanded seat in the 2019 Lok sabha election to Pratap Patil Chikhalikar of the BJP.
Belonging to an influential political family based in Nanded district of Maharashtra state, Chavan is the son of Shankarrao Chavan, a former chief minister of the state himself.
They were the first father–son duo in the state's history to become chief ministers.
While Ashok Chavan's wife was an MLA from Bhokar constituency in Nanded from 2014-19, his brother-in-law Bhaskarrao Bapurao Khatgaonkar Patil was a three-time MLA and a three-time MP.