Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and 9 MLAs have quit the Congress and are speculated to join the BJP.
In a letter to state Congress president Nana Patole, the 65-year-old leader said he was resigning as a primary member of the grand old party. He also submitted his resignation as an MLA to Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.
This is another big jolt for the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, with senior leaders Baba Siddique and Milind Deora quitting the party recently.
Siddique had aligned with the NCP led by Ajit Pawar, while Deora opted to join the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Both parties are part of the coalition supporting the BJP-led Maharashtra government.
Amid the buzz that Chavan will join the BJP, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters, “Aagey aagey dekho hota hai kya (wait and watch what happens).”
Chavan hails from Nanded district in the Marathwada region.
His father, the late Shankarrao Chavan, was also the chief minister of Maharashtra.
Ashok Chavan stepped down as chief minister in 2010 for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai.
He was also the state Congress chief during 2014–19.
The other 9 who chose to quit along with Ashok Chauhan, it is learned, may formally join the saffron party in Delhi in the presence of party chief JP Nadda and other senior BJP stalwarts.