A day before Maharashtra goes to polls, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has admitted that had he taken any action against his Adarsh scam accused predecessors Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Shinde and Ashok Chavan, “the party would have been decimated in Maharashtra”. He further said that he did not order proper investigations against former irrigation minister from NCP, Ajit Pawar, only to keep the alliance intact.
In an interview to The Telegraph, Chavan, who is contesting the MLA elections from the Karad constituency, confessed that he could not play a hand in sending his predecessors to jail as it would have split the party. He also said, citing figures from the economic survey, that while Rs 42,000 crore was spent on irrigation in the last decade of the Congress-NCP government in the state, a period when Pawar was the irrigation minister, there was no increase in irrigation projects.
The BJP later attacked Chavan for his candid admission that he let former CMs off the hook in a corruption case. Party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “After Prithviraj Chavan’s self admission, there is nothing left for the Congress and NCP to fight the elections with. It ensured BJP is heading for a landslide victory in tomorrow’s assembly elections.”
In the interview, Chavan further said, “I did not order a police inquiry, I did not ask for a judicial commission report? all for the sake of keeping the alliance intact…I only asked them for a white paper on the matter,” he said. Chavan added that the all-party probe panel did not investigate much into the matter due to NCP’s “match-fixing” with BJP. “I could have been proactive and could have insisted that it was a judicial commission and that Pawar should be summoned and questioned. But I was running an alliance. my hands were tied,” he said.
Chavan blamed the split of the alliance on Pawar’s ambition. He said Pawar’s “objective was to be chief minister for half a term and make lots of money”. Chavan also admitted that there was “many years of anti-incumbency” against the Congress in the sate.
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