HomePolitics‘Ganpati politics’ in full-swing in Maharashtra as Ashok Chavan’s meeting with Devendra...

‘Ganpati politics’ in full-swing in Maharashtra as Ashok Chavan’s meeting with Devendra Fadnavis fuels rumours of his exit from Congress


Mumbai: Amidst all the on-going festivities, politics in Maharashtra too has taken a festive turn. ‘Ganpati politics’ is in full swing in Maharashtra after former chief minister and senior Congressman Ashok Chavan having a chanced ‘meeting’ with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and current Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a Ganesha darshan. The chanced meeting has sparked renewed speculation about Ashok Chavan’s possible defection to the BJP.

According to sources, the two leaders met for nearly half-an-hour on Thursday during the Ganesha festivities at the residence of Ashish Kulkarni, who is Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD).

Speaking to newspersons in Pune on Friday, Devendra Fadnavis categorically denied having a meeting with Ashok Chavan while clarifying that the Congressman was coincidentally present at the Ganesh darshan (at Ashish Kulkarni’s residence) at the same time as he was.

Ashok Chavan, on his part, has again dismissed the rumours of his joining the BJP as ‘baseless’ while stating that he would be participating in the upcoming ‘Bharat Jodo’ rally in New Delhi to be staged by the Congress.

Clarifying that there was no ‘closed door meeting’ as was being speculated in the air, the former Congress chief minister remarked, “All suggestions of me joining the BJP are baseless. I coincidentally happened to be at Ashish Kulkarni’s place for Ganesh darshan when Devendra Fadnavis arrived. We had a cordial meeting in the presence of a number of guests.” 

Ever since Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s intra-party rebellion split the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena toppling the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) government (of the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress), speculation has been rife about a major split within the Congress in Maharashtra.  

According to sources, the impending second phase of the cabinet expansion of the new government could well see a couple of senior Congress leaders getting cabinet berths if they switched their allegiance to the BJP. 

In all, 50 MLAs including 11 independents and 39 Sena rebels had joined hands with Eknath Shinde to form a new government along with Devendra Fadnavis’ BJP.  

Rumours have been rife for some time now about Ashok Chavan’s exit after he, along with 10 other Congress MLAs, did not cast their vote in the trust vote of the newly formed Shinde-Fadnavis government last month, causing the MVA’s tally to fall to 99. An excuse given by most MLAs including Ashok Chavan was that they got stuck in Mumbai’s rush-hour traffic.  

According to sources, it would not be particularly surprising at this stage for Ashok Chavan to switch sides given that in the recent past, he was perceived to be ‘soft’ on the BJP in his capacity as the former Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief. 

Meanwhile, incumbent MPCC chief Nana Patole, commenting on speculations of Ashok Chavan’s possible exit, said they were rumours being planted by the BJP and the Shinde camp to spread confusion. He further added that “no one was leaving the Congress camp” and that all MLAs stood united. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read