Ex-Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan joins BJP after exiting Congress

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday.

| Updated: 13 February, 2024 4:44 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a significant political move, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, just a day after parting ways with the Congress, ending his three-decade-long association with the grand old party. His induction into the BJP’s primary membership took place in the presence of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Chavan, a Congress loyalist, had been expressing his discontent with the party for some time, evident from his absence at several important events and meetings. Sources suggest that he is likely to file his nomination for the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.

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Speaking on his decision to switch parties, Ashok Chavan stated, “It is my sincere effort to make a contribution to the state and country under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. After 38 years of political career in Congress, I took the decision to join BJP.” He expressed gratitude towards the Congress for its support but highlighted his own efforts in strengthening the party in the state.

Chavan’s dissatisfaction with certain leaders and the leadership within the Maharashtra Congress is cited as a key reason for his departure. While some in the Congress attributed his exit to pressure from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), others claimed he had voiced concerns to the central leadership about the working style within the state Congress, which went unaddressed.

However, Chavan’s political journey has not been devoid of controversies. He was named in the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011 in connection with the Adarsh Scam, a housing society scam that rocked Maharashtra’s political landscape. Despite these challenges, Chavan has wielded significant influence, particularly in the Nanded and Marathwada regions.

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Coming from a politically influential family, Chavan is the son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shankarrao Chavan, making them the first father-son duo in the state’s history to hold the position of Chief Minister. Despite facing corruption charges, Chavan’s electoral success, even in the face of the Modi wave in 2014, underscores his political clout.

Chavan’s defection to the BJP marks another setback for the Congress, following the recent exits of key leaders like Milind Deora and Baba Siddique. His move underscores the evolving political landscape in Maharashtra, with party alignments and alliances undergoing significant shifts.

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