In a controversial statement made by senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan on January 19, the Maharashtra PWD Minister stated that his party agreed to be a part of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government on the insistence of Muslims.
Speaking at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act in Nanded, he alleged that a majority of the Muslim community regarded BJP as its principal enemy and called upon the Congress party to stop BJP from forming the government in the state once again. He also assured that the Maharashtra government would not allow the CAA to be implemented in the state.
Ashok Chavan remarked, “This is our state. Our government has been formed in the state. We decided to be a part of the government to keep BJP away from power. Maharashtra should not face damage again akin to what BJP inflicted in the last 5 years. Most of the Muslim brothers said that our biggest enemy is BJP and Congress should be a part of the government to stop BJP. That’s why the Congress party is in the government today. Till our government is there, we will not allow the implementation of CAA in the state.”
Meanwhile, in a clear indication of dissent brewing in the Congress party over joining hands with the Shiv Sena, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan claimed that a similar situation had arisen in 2014 as well. He revealed that the Sena had approached him back then to form a coalition government so that BJP could be kept out of power.
According to Prithviraj Chavan, he turned down the offer. Furthermore, he opined that an election loss and sitting in opposition were not unusual in politics.
Earlier in the day, Prithviraj Chavan said, "A similar situation emerged in 2014 as well. Then too, Shiv Sena and NCP had approached me to form a coalition government to stop the BJP. I immediately rejected the offer then and said winning and losing is normal in politics. In the past too, we lost elections and sat in the opposition."