Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on February 12 resigned from the primary membership of the Congress party, ending his family’s longstanding association with the grand-old party, and is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP.)
Mr. Chavan submitted his resignation to the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nana Patole. Earlier in the day, the former Congress leader met Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar and submitted his resignation to the House.
Notably, his letterhead, where he drafted the word “former” in Marathi with a pen, now reflects his designation as “former MLA.”
“Today, I have tendered my resignation as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from 85-Bhokar Assembly Constituency to the Assembly Speaker Rahulji Narvekar,” Mr. Chavan later posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Speaking to The Hindu, a senior BJP leader confirmed that the 65-year-old former Chief Minister will join the party, bringing along a group of supporters from the Marathwada region. Speculations rife that Mr. Chavan may secure a Rajya Sabha berth from the BJP.
When asked about Mr. Chavan’s potential entry into the party, BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “I learned about Mr. Chavan from the media. However, what I can affirm is that several prominent leaders from Congress are in contact with the BJP. Leaders associated with the public are expressing dissatisfaction within the Congress. I am confident that some prominent figures will switch to the BJP.”
The discord between Mr. Chavan and Mr. Patole likely influenced his choice to change allegiance, a senior leader from Congress told The Hindu. “Mr. Chavan always expressed dissatisfaction with Mr. Patole’s role as MPCC chief and consistently held him responsible for the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government,” he said.
“Mr. Chavan’s decision doesn’t come as a surprise. It has been in the works for more than five years, and the high command has been informed about it repeatedly. Nanded district, Mr. Chavan’s hometown, has a significant Muslim and Dalit population, traditionally strong supporters of the Congress. While leaders may change, our grassroot cadre remains intact,” the leader added.