The ruling Congress in Maharashtra has cut a sorry figure after its leader, former chief minister Ashok Chavan, has been chargesheeted in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. This, when the ruling party has already suffered embarassment owing to a blame game between Chavan and his predecessors Vilasarao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde in connection with the alleged irregularities in the 2002 allotment of prime-land property to Kargil War heroes.
What’s more, soon after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheeted him yesterday, Chavan stated that he was a victim of a “conspiracy” hatched by his party colleagues, thus making the issue further awkward for the Congress.
Piquantly, present chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has succeeded Ashok due to his “clean image”, too, has faced flak from the Opposition parties. That has been over an affidavit the the state government has submitted in the Bombay high court, making references against ongoing CBI probe into the multi-crore scam. The affidavit surfaced on the eve of the the CBI filing the chargesheet.
The chief minister had a tough time defending his government’s move. In the process, he commented on the “passing the buck” tactics of Deshmukh, Shinde and Ashok Chavan. This has now given handle to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Opposition party now wants to know why Deshmukh and Shinde have been spared. The BJP will take up the matter in the monsoon session of the legislature beginning July 9, according to its leader Vinod Tawde, who is leader of opposition in the state council.
As for the Congress, some of its senior ministers and legislators admit that the party is currently facing a major challenge in its bid to rebuild its image ahead of 2014 assembly elections. A senior minister said the Congress leadership is already under criticism following its recent defeats in the recent civic-body elections in the state. “Now, instead of a blame game, the three former chief ministers should have clearly stated that the land on which the (31-storey) building has come up belongs to the state,” he told Business Standard.
The party, he admitted, “will have to rework its strategy” to reach out to the people by reassuring its resolve to fight corruption and malpractices.
Congress state spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan, too, is vocal in explaining the party’s position. “The party is certainly facing a serious situation,” he said. “We have to put our act together with a coherent strategy at the level of government and organisation.”