Ex-Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan joins BJP, says he's embarking on new journey of political life

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Mumbai, Feb 13 (PTI) Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Tuesday, a day after quitting the Congress, the party he was associated with for nearly four decades.


Chavan (65) was inducted into the BJP at the party office in Mumbai in the presence of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Mumbai party unit head Ashish Shelar and cabinet minister Girish Mahajan.

Addressing a press conference after his induction, Chavan said he joined the BJP as he was impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's work with the slogan of 'Sabka saath, sabka vikas'.

Stating that by joining the BJP he was embarking on a new journey of his political life, he added that he would work for increasing the saffron party's seats in Maharashtra.


Chavan, the son of former CM Shankarrao Chavan, tendered his resignation from the Congress on Monday, giving a jolt to the grand old party ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

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

Chavan had stepped down as the chief minister in 2010 for his alleged involvement in Adarsh Housing scam in Mumbai. He was the state Congress chief during 2014-19. He represented Bhokar assembly seat and is also a former MP from Nanded Lok Sabha constituency.


He is an accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam wherein a 31-storey posh building in south Mumbai was constructed allegedly on land owned by the Defence Ministry without getting the requisite permissions and clearances.

The backdrop of the Adarsh Housing Society scam mentioned in a white paper tabled in Parliament last week has drawn attention as a potential factor in Chavan's departure, a claim though denied by him.

When asked about Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut targeting him over the Adarsh scam, Chavan said at the press conference, "The Bombay High Court has given the decision in my favour. I can say that it was a political accident. Some agencies have challenged the court's decision. I have faced enough of that, and I do not think it is a matter of any concern now." On what he aspires to do in the BJP, he said. "I must say that I worked with a developmental and positive attitude so far. When Fadnavis was in the Opposition and I was the chief minister of Maharashtra, we supported each other. Wherever I have lived, I have worked honestly for the party. I will see how I can increase the BJP's seats in Maharashtra. I will definitely contribute to it as per my strength." He said he was impressed by PM Modi's work and the slogan of 'Sabka saath, sabka vikas'.


"When I was in the Opposition, I never made any personal remarks. We even praised each others' good work. I will work as per the directives of the party. It was always my decision to switch over to the BJP," he said.

"It's a new beginning of my life, I would say. In the last 38 years of my political life...starting a new journey. I would like to do some good work and go ahead with progressive thoughts. Politics is a way of serving society. Some people have criticised my decision, but I will not make any personal remarks against anyone," Chavan added.

When asked about whether more people from the Congress could join the BJP, Chavan said, "I have not made any calls to other Congress leaders. BJP leaders, like Fadnavis, will take that decision. I have joined the party only today." On the farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march, Chavan said it was true that the cultivators were facing some issues.


"But their issues will be addressed for sure. The government wants to stop farmers' suicides. The prime minister is capable, and he can make other leaders, like the agriculture minister, to find solutions," he said.

Chavan added that the Centre had earlier withdrawn the three controversial farm laws. "So it is not a prestige issue," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Fadnavis said, "It is a delightful moment for all of us that a senior leader from Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, has joined the BJP. He has worked on several portfolios as well as served as chief minister of the state two times. I welcome him to the party. I am sure his induction has strengthened the 'Mahayuti' government." "Many leaders in the country are in favour of joining the BJP as the country is progressing under the leadership of PM Modi. He told us that he is not keen on any post in the party, and he wants to contribute to the country's development," he said.

Talking to reporters before joining the BJP, Chavan said, "Today is the beginning of my new political career." Asked if he had received any calls from senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Chavan evaded a reply.

Former Congress MLC Amarnath Rajurkar and several supporters of Chavan from his home district Nanded in Marathwada came to Mumbai and gathered at the BJP office in south Mumbai. PTI ND GK NP