Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan on Monday, 12 february, resigned from the Congress party.
Chavan tendered his one-line resignation letter addressed to state chief Nana Patole on Monday.
Amid claims of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said that he is yet not taken any decision on joining any political party.
"I have resigned as the MLA, as the member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), and as the member of the Congress party. While I was in the Congress, I worked with full honesty. I don't want to complain about anybody. I have no personal issues with anyone. As long as I was there, I worked with honesty. I have not decided on the future course of action yet. I will reveal my political decision in the next two days," he said while addressing the media.
Chavan's resignation comes as a massive blow to the Opposition's Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in the state, that is still recovering from the vertical splits in both the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress party.
'Will Decide on Next Course of Action in 2 Days'
Quizzed about reports of getting a Rajya Sabha berth from the BJP, he said: "I do not know about the BJP's modus operandi. I have not decided to join the BJP yet. As I said, I will reveal my decision in two days."
Chavan also said that he has not had talks with any BJP leaders so far.
"Everything does not need a reason. Since my birth, I have been associated with the Congress. I wanted to weigh other options now, and hence I decided to resign. I don't want to talk about internal party politics or speak ill about anybody. That is not in my nature," he said, when asked about the reasons behind his resignation.
"I realise seat sharing talks are not progressing as well as they should. But I have no right to comment anymore. If the talks were expedited, MVA would have benefitted more," Chavan added.
"If the Congress has given me a lot, I, too, have given a lot to the party," he said. Chavan also denied reports of any more Congress MLAs quitting the party to follow him.
Why Chavan's Leaving May Shake MVA Further
Chavan is currently an MLA from Bhokar constituency in the Nanded Lok Sabha, a region with significant dominance of the both the BJP and the Congress.
A former chief minister from 2008-2010, Chavan had unceremoniously stepped down from the post after allegations in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. After winning the Nanded Lok Sabha seat in 2014, Chavan lost the seat to BJP's Prataprao Govindrao Chikhalikar, a result that was indicative of the BJP's rising significance in the region.
Out of six Assembly seats in Nanded, three are with the Congress, two with the BJP, and one with the Shiv Sena. With Chavan's exit, the BJP's position is most likely to get strengthened in Nanded.
Chavan's entry into the BJP, if it happens, will pave way for other party leaders and office bearers in the region to jump ship, further weakening an embattled MVA.
Chavan's resignation is the third such blow to the Maharashtra Congress in the past few weeks after Milind Deora and Baba Sidique.