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"Is BJP's self-confidence so low...?": Uddhav guns for BJP as Ashok Chavan quits Congress

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Chatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (Maharashtra) | February 13, 2024 6:53:03 AM IST
Taking a swipe at the BJP-led NDA government in the state after former chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan resigned from the party, Shiv Sena UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday questioned whether the ruling party was suffering from 'low self-confidence' ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Expanding on his claim about the ruling NDA in the state, the former CM questioned why it felt the need to poach leaders from the Opposition camp unless it was nervous and feared defeat in the upcoming general elections.

While Chavan resigned as an MLA and also announced his exit from the Congress, dealing a further blow to the INDIA bloc and the Opposition unity, he stopped short of opening up on his future political course.

However, the Sena (UBT) Supremo claimed that the former CM could be linking his lot with the BJP.

Addressing a rally at Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad) on Monday, Uddhav went all guns blazing at the BJP, saying it wouldn't have felt the need to split the Opposition combine--Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)--and lure leaders away to its fold if it had worked for the people during its decade-long rule at the Centre.

"PM Narendra Modi recently said in Parliament that the BJP will secure a thumping majority (in the Lok Sabha elections). If so, then why lure leaders away from Opposition parties? If they are so confident of going '400-paar' in the upcoming elections, why poach leaders from the Opposition camp? They took Nitish Kumar in Bihar and Ashok Chavan, Ajit Pawar, and (CM Eknath) Shinde here. If they had worked sincerely for the people in the 10 years (at the Centre), the BJP would not have had to break the Opposition. Is the BJP's self-confidence so low ahead of the general elections?" Uddhav said.

The chief minister of the erstwhile MVA government, in which Chavan had served as a Cabinet minister, claimed further that the latter would be labelled a 'traitor' after his exit from the Congress.

"We did not imagine that Ashok Chavan would leave us like this," Uddhav said, adding, "He was with us till yesterday. I will not make allegations just because he is no longer with the Congress. But one has to ask: what would he get out of this? He will be labelled a traitor."

In a jibe at the BJP, he said that the party has ushered so many Congress leaders in its fold that it could soon be led natinally by a leader who was formerly with the grand old party.

"The BJP raised the slogan of a 'Congress Mukta Bharat' but that objective remained unfulfilled. In fact, they have appropriated so many leaders from Congress that they have become Congress-occupied BJP like Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). With so many Congress leaders in the BJP now, the day isn't far when a former Congress leader will be leading the BJP nationally," Uddhav said.

Earlier in the day, Chavan submitted his resignation from the Congress's primary membership to PCC president Nana Patole.

Taking to his official handle on X, Chavan also announced his resignation from the Maharashtra Assembly.

"Today, February 12, 2024, I tendered my resignation as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from 85-Bhokar Assembly Constituency to the Assembly Speaker Rahulji Narvekar," Chavan posted on X.

Chavan, who represented Bhokar in Nanded as an MLA, was reported to have fallen out with state Congress chief Patole.

Chavan is the third big name to desert the Congress ship in Maharashtra following the exit of former South Mumbai MP Milind Deora and former MLA Baba Siddique.

The former MPCC president 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 1999 till May 2014.

He also served as Maharashtra CM from December 8, 2008, to November 9, 2010. On November 9, 2010, the Congress asked him to resign from office over corruption allegations relating to the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

In the 2014 general elections, Chavan was elected from the Nanded constituency but lost the seat in 2019 Pratap Patil Chikhalikar of the BJP.

He is the son of Shankarrao Chavan, a former chief minister of Maharashtra who also served as Union Home Minister.

Meanwhile, weighing in on Chavan's exit, former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Nirupam claimed that the former was upset with the working style of a leader from Maharashtra.

"Ashok Chavan was definitely an asset for the party. Some are calling him a liability, some are holding ED responsible; these are only hasty reactions. He was basically very upset with the working style of a leader from Maharashtra," Nirupam posted on X.

The former president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee also claimed that if complaints by Chavan had been addressed by the party, he would not have resigned.

"He (Chavan) had put forward his concerns to the top leadership from time to time. Had their complaints been taken seriously, the situation wouldn't have come to this pass," Nirupam added.

Heaping praise on the former CM, Nirupam added, "Ashok Chavan is resourceful, a skilled organiser, has a firm grasp on the ground and is a serious leader. When 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' was in Nanded for five days last year, the entire leadership had seen his potential first-hand."

"His leaving Congress is a big loss for us. No one will be able to cover for this loss. The onus was on us to take care of assets like him," he added, in a veiled dig at the Congress's state leadership. (ANI)

 
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