Mumbai: Plunging the Congress in the state into a crisis ahead of the general election, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Monday quit the Congress, amid speculation that he is veering towards the BJP.
In a letter to state Congress president Nana Patole, Chavan (65) said he was resigning as a primary member of the party. He also submitted his resignation as an MLA to Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.
Even when NCP and Shiv Sena were facing internal factionalism, and eventual breakup, Congress weathered that storm. However, it has emerged that senior leaders are not happy with Patole's reign as the state party chief.
What might hurt the Congress further is the timing of Chavan's exit which comes days after senior leaders Baba Siddique and Milind Deora quit the party.
Amid the buzz that Chavan will join the BJP, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters, "Aagey aagey dekho hota hai kya" (wait and watch what happens.
It is learnt that two to three leaders close to Chavan might also tender their resignation, leading Marathi news outlet Lokmat reported.
Chavan hails from Nanded district in Marathwada region. His father, the late Shankarrao Chavan, was also the chief minister of Maharashtra. Chavan stepped down as chief minister in 2010 for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai. He was also state Congress chief during 2014-19.
(With PTI inputs)