Chavan was supposed to fight, but he chose to quit the battlefield: Chennithala

Former Maharashtra CM and Congress leader Ashok Chavan with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addresses media after joining BJP in Mumbai.
Former Maharashtra CM and Congress leader Ashok Chavan with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addresses media after joining BJP in Mumbai.

Mumbai | Congress' Maharashtra in-charge Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday hit out at former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan for quitting the party to join the BJP, saying he was supposed to fight, but he chose to leave the battlefield instead.

Addressing a press conference after meeting senior Congress leaders here, Chennithala asserted that no Congress worker will quit the party, amid buzz that some party MLAs could follow suit.

He also claimed that some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, MLAs were in touch with the Congress.

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," he said.

He also hit out at the BJP for opening its doors to those against whom it had levelled charges of corruption.

The BJP is trying to weaken the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), but such developments will only strengthen its resolve, Chennithala said.

"He (Chavan) was the leader and face of the Congress. He was supposed to fight, but he left the battlefield," he said.

Chavan, a two-time chief minister, quit the Congress on Monday and joined the BJP in presence of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the saffron party's state unit president Chandrakant Bawankule on Tuesday.

Congress state president Nana Patole urged Chavan to reconsider his decision as there was still time to ponder over it.

Chennithala said the party gave Chavan a chance to helm the state government twice, also the state unit and made him a member of the Congress Working Committee, yet Chavan chose to quit the party.

He said Chavan was part of the Congress meetings till 2 pm two days back (on Sunday). Before that, he had also met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and other senior leaders in Delhi.

"Why did he leave the Congress party? He has no answer. People will not accept it. We work on principles. Did he have pressure from the Enforcement Directorate, CBI? What injustice has been done to him," Chennitahala said.

With fear of cross-voting in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, Chennithala said if the MLAs cross-vote, they will be expelled from the party for six years.

"We have the numbers. When NCP and Congress join, the numbers will swell. With (NCP's) Sharad Pawar and (Shiv Sena UBT's) Uddhav Thackeray, we will together fight the Rajya Sabha polls," he said.

Congress' Chandrakant Handore had lost the legislative council polls in 2022 despite the party having the required number of votes.

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