‘Ashok Chavan a leader of national stature’, says Fadnavis
Mumbai, Feb 13 (IANS) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis lavished praise on former CM Ashok Chavan here on Tuesday, describing him as “a leader of national stature” whose entry will benefit the BJP and the state MahaYuti government.
“The state BJP unit, in consultation with the central party, will decide on a befitting role for Chavan who is a leader of national stature,” said Fadnavis, hinting at the possibility of a Rajya Sabha nomination for the newly inducted leader.
He, along with BJP state President Chandrashekhar Bawankule, city chief Ashish Shelar and other party bigwigs, accorded a warm welcome to Chavan who quit the Congress on Monday and joined the saffron party this afternoon.
Earlier, the two-time CM Chavan, 66, was formally inducted into the BJP with which he will start his new political innings at the state headquarters.
Other seniors like Pravin Darekar, Girish Mahajan, Harshavardhan Patil, were also present to witness Chavan’s high-profile entry to the BJP.
Bawankule signed Chavan’s membership form amid cheers and applause by the gathering and celebrations erupting outside the BJP office in his hometown Nanded.
In his address, Chavan said that he was launching a new chapter in his political life and would sincerely fulfil any responsibility assigned by the BJP.
“I had served the Congress till now with full dedication and I shall continue to do so even here. Nobody told me to go, it was my personal decision. I have not made any demands from the BJP, nor have I contacted any other (Congress) leaders,” said Chavan.
To a question, Chavan reiterated that he had emerged clean from the Adarsh Society scam with the Bombay High Court giving a decision in his favour.
Chavan assured that he would strive to get the maximum number of seats for the BJP in the upcoming (Parliament/Assembly) elections in Maharashtra.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working for the progress (‘Vikas’) of the country and we must acknowledge that… We should all strengthen his hands…”, urged Chavan.
On Monday, Chavan dropped a political bombshell when he abruptly quit the Congress Party, with which he was associated for over 40 years, and also as the sitting MLA from Bhokar.
He became the third important leader to quit the Congress in the past four weeks -- first ex-Union minister Milind M. Deora left in January to join the Shiv Sena of CM Eknath Shinde, and only last week ex-MLA Baba Ziauddin Siddique threw his lot with Nationalist Congress Party led by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar.