Is it curtains for Ashok Chavan? Just as the Congress was clearing the decks for the former chief minister’s bounce-back into active politics following the Adarsh fiasco, a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday dashed the hopes of both the Congress and Chavan.
Chavan was forced to step down after his alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam and misuse of power.
Following this, levers within the party started turning and Chavan’s return to mainstream politics looked certain.
First, the party successfully stalled the CBI’s attempt to prosecute Chavan by arguing that governor’s nod was needed for the prosecution. When the governor denied permission, it was believed that Chavan punctured image would get some succour.
Chavan’s image received a further boost when the Congress, under his leadership, recorded a thumping majority in Nanded municipal corporation election recently.
After the governor denied permission, the CBI also looked keen to drop Chavan’s name from the list. Now, he will become an accused in the case.
When dna contacted Chavan, he said he was still awaiting the ‘reasoning’ behind the court decision.
“I can comment only after reading the court copy,” he said. On meeting state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and rumours about his leaving the party, Chavan said he did meet a couple of senior leaders in the state and in Delhi.
“But I have no plan to leave the Congress. I am very much a party worker and shall remain so in future as well,” he said. “The special court decision to reject the CBI request will have greater political consequences,” said a political observer. Chavan was expecting a larger political role ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, he said.
The housing scam, and, subsequently, the state government’s flip-flop on the Adarsh commission had done irreparable damage to Chavan’s image.
“Now, it is very complicated. Though the Adarsh commission has also indicted two other former chief ministers — Sushilkumar Shinde, who is the current Union home minister, and Shivajirao Nilangekar — Chavan is on weaker ground due to quid pro quo. He got a couple of flats on his relatives’ names,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party demanded the resignation of governor K Shankaranarayanan. The governor refused to comment.