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'Congress Is Not Ready For A Fight'

Last updated on: February 16, 2024 14:13 IST
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'If you fight you win, if you don't fight, how will you win?'

IMAGE: Ashok Chavan, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party this week, prays at the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai, February 15, 2024 before filing his nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections. Photograph: ANI Photo

Ashok Chavan, former Maharashtra chief minister, resigned from the Congress party -- which has been home to him and his late father, former chief minister and Union home minister S B Chavan -- joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on February 14. The next day he filed the nomination for the Rajya Sabha as a BJP candidate.

"There is no political decision making. There is no implementation of what has been discussed. How can you move forward?", Ashok Chavan asks Senior Contributor Neeta Kolhatkar.

Why this sudden decision to undertake a new journey?

I thought things are not going well. Things are not happening and they (the Congress party) were not ready for a fight. See, if you fight you win, if you don't fight how will you win?

There is not strategic planning, they (the Congress leadership) are not prepared to listen to party workers, there is no preparation.

There is no political decision making. More than all of this, there is no implementation of what has been discussed. How can you move forward?

The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee has been plagued recently by personality problems and other issues. Is that the reason for you to leave?

It is that and several other issues that have come together. Some people speak while others don't speak (indicating himself), but you have to decide whether you want to sink or you want to swim and move forward.

My performance in the Congress party was to be measured, recognised and it is visible. Results have shown it.

What ails the Maha Vikas Agadhi, the MVA (the Shiv Sena [UBT], the Congress and the NCP Sharad Pawar]?

I won't speak of other partner parties. The Congress has not been able to put its course in action properly, so things don't look bright.

Isn't it a bizarre situation that Maharashtra faces today, that there is absolutely no opposition? Is this not worrisome?

Seems that... The basic issue is that for the development of the state, people expect political representatives to deliver.

This is irrespective of whether leaders are in power or not. People expect their representatives to deliver, come what may.

When you are not able to do it, people don't understand your situation.

One does things for one's survival, for one's future. People have high hopes from political representatives and this does not happen.

People ask what is the use of all this?

IMAGE: Maharashtra BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankule, left, welcomes Ashok Chavan, right, into the party fold in Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's presence. Photograph: ANI Photo

There is no opposition, so how can people have hopes?

It doesn't happen just like that. You have to prepare for it, things don't happen just like that.

Issues have to be taken up. One can't keep blaming the people. A leader has to struggle, prepare, fight. We have to give results.

I have given results earlier. The basic question is how are we going to enthuse the people?

In such a situation with no opposition and leaders jumping parties, the electorate will have a problem about whom to vote for?

Look, I don't expect unanimous support for all my decisions. Some discontentment is bound to be there. This is a political plunge I have taken. Let us see what happens in the future.

IMAGE: During happier times: Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole, left, and Ashok Chavan, right, at the Bharat Jodo Padyatri's Pride Ceremony at Tilak Bhavan, Mumbai. Photograph: ANI Photo

Why the Rajya Sabha? You are a formidable leader with your stronghold being Nanded. Why not the Lok Sabha?

Probably they (the BJP) want me to campaign all over the state. Maybe more responsibilities are being planned for me. We shall see what unfolds.

Do you see any hurdles in your journey?

I don't see any hurdle. I think the prime minister's graph has already risen a lot. The infrastructure projects, air and road transport connectivity has improved.

The general communication with the masses is strong and growing. I think that is a plus point.

Don't you think there are too many former chief ministers and even more probable CMs in the party and NDA alliance you have switched to?

Where? Maybe, but that doesn't affect me. I haven't gone with a specific ambition. I am sure work will be recognised.

My performance and track record is there and proven. I will work hard, take on responsibilities and will fulfil them with detailed planning, implementation and execution.

IMAGE: Ashok Chavan files his nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections in Mumbai. Photograph: ANI Photo

The media declared you guilty in the Adarsh scam case.

Yes, I know, the media is the media. Hopefully they will support me. The law will take its own course, so let us see.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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