Speculations surrounding Ashok Chavan’s departure from the Congress party have finally materialized, with the former Maharashtra chief minister submitting his resignation on Monday. Chavan, who has been the subject of rumors about his inclination towards joining the BJP since 2022, officially severed ties with the Congress, hinting at a potential switch in allegiance.
In a brief resignation letter addressed to State Congress president Nana Patole, Chavan stated, “I am resigning from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress from the afternoon of February 12.” The move comes after prolonged speculation, fueled by Chavan’s rumored intent to join the BJP, particularly following a trust vote in 2022 where he and seven other Congress MLAs were conspicuously absent, unable to cast their votes.
Despite earlier refutations of such reports, Chavan’s departure marks another blow to the Congress party’s stability, especially in light of recent defections. Former Maharashtra minister Baba Siddique recently joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, after a 48-year tenure with the Congress, further weakening the party’s position ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Hailing from a prominent political lineage as the son of late Union minister and chief minister Shankarrao Chavan, Ashok Chavan began his political journey in 1986. His trajectory saw him assume various roles within the Maharashtra unit of the Congress party, eventually leading to his election to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1987.
Over the years, Chavan solidified his presence in Maharashtra politics, serving as a minister for public works, urban development, and home, among other portfolios. His tenure as chief minister, albeit brief, was marked by the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, during which he faced challenges and eventual resignation in 2010 following implications in the Adarsh Housing scam.
Despite setbacks, Chavan exhibited resilience, securing electoral victories and representing constituencies such as Mudkhed and Bhokar. His political fortunes witnessed both triumphs and defeats, notably losing the Nanded Lok Sabha seat in 2019 to a BJP candidate amid the backdrop of the ‘Modi wave.’
As Chavan takes the pivotal step of resigning from the Congress, his potential alignment with the BJP hints at significant political realignments in Maharashtra’s landscape, underscoring the evolving dynamics leading up to the upcoming elections.