Former Maharashtra MLA Ashish Deshmukh on Thursday criticised the Congress for expelling him, and said the action showed that the party’s state unit was in the hands of wrong people.
The state Congress recently expelled Deshmukh from the party for six years over his public statements against the party leadership. The order of expulsion was issued to Deshmukh by senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, chairperson of the state Congress disciplinary committee, through a letter dated May 22.
The letter said the committee discussed Deshmukh’s reply submitted on April 9 to a show-cause notice issued to him over his statement that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the Other Backward Class (OBC) community over his “Modi surname” remarks.
Deshmukh is a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Katol in Nagpur, who later joined the Congress.
In a statement, Deshmukh said, “The decision to expel me from the party is completely wrong. This action shows that the leadership of the Maharashtra Congress is in the hands of wrong people.” “If one statement of Rahulji Gandhi insults the entire OBC community and because of that members of this community are hurt, then for the sake of Congress party, Rahulji should apologise to the OBCs who form 54 per cent of India’s total population, and end the matter here,” he said.
“The Congress leaders expelled me from the party for raising my voice for the welfare of OBCs. They issued a show-cause notice to me and I gave a detailed reply to it. The media gave a wide publicity to my reply as there was truth in it. But Congress leaders in Maharashtra did not find my reply satisfactory and that is the only reason they cited for my expulsion,” he added.
It can also be inferred that the decision to expel me from the party was already taken and the notice was given later, Deshmukh said.
In the 2019 Assembly elections, Deshmukh, was the Congress nominee against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and now Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South West seat. Deshmukh was defeated by Fadnavis.
Last month, Ashish Deshmukh termed as “unfortunate” the show-cause notice issued to him and claimed it was part of a “larger conspiracy” since he had been questioning the style of functioning of the party leaders.