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'It was wrong that Ashok Chavan used his position to dole out flats when in power'

January 31, 2014 12:03 IST

Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan'We are clear the party won't protect those who are seen as culprits,' says Maharashtra Congress Chief Manekrao Thakre.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Manekrao Thakre, in an exclusive interview, tells Neeta Kolhatkar about party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi compelling the Democratic Front government in the state to accept the Adarsh inquiry report.

Do you think the Maharashtra government should have rejected the Adarsh committee report?

Initially, what the Maharashtra government did was within their Constitutional right. The government rejected the report as per the cabinet decision.

But when certain information began trickling out and suspicions were raised pointing directly to certain bureaucrats and former chief ministers, it became evident that there is something more to this report.

Congress MP Milind Deora recently spoke against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. This wasn't the first time as Deora had spoken against Chavan in the Campa Cola building case too.

This was followed by Rahul Gandhi's opinion which compelled the government to reconsider the rejection of the Adarsh report. Is it right?

The MP spoke because like I said suspicions were raised that certain bureaucrats and ministers had a role to play in the Adarsh scam.

It is correct for any Congressman to speak up against any sort of indication that a government is trying to protect wrong doers. There is absolutely no question of giving political refuge.

Our vice-president made clear his opinion and it was necessary for the Maharashtra government to accept the report.

The party dictates the policy to a government and also gives direction.

If there is any wrongdoing, the party has to point it out to the government. There was no question of not accepting it.

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan has been named in the report. What about the land ownership and title issue? Has that been settled?

It was wrong that Ashok Chavan used his position to dole out two, three flats when in power. As a consequence, he resigned.

This can happen only in the Congress party.

We are clear the party won't protect those who are seen as culprits.

The one controversy that has been settled in the final report of the Adarsh panel is the allegation that the land was reserved for Kargil war widows is not true.

The report has clearly stated that the land belonged to the Maharashtra government.

Apart from this, the government has accepted the report and we will see what follows.

This is the second time that Rahul Gandhi has stepped in to compel the government to change course.

First, the central government was forced to do a u-turn in the ordinance protecting tainted lawmakers. Then the Maharashtra government was forced to accept the Adarsh panel report.

Aren't senior Congress leaders upset with his style of functioning?

Often, there are people who will be upset with someone or a certain way someone functions.

I am happy to say that Rahul Gandhi has enthused the Congress cadres. He has brought a new wave of leadership and he is guiding the party now. I don't think people are upset with his style.

Rahul Gandhi is giving directions to the party for good and transparent governance.

It is an important time and the Congress party is rejuvenated under his leadership.

Image: Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

Neeta Kohlatkar in Mumbai