Resentment everywhere, Ashok Chavan speaks of resigning

Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan

An audio tape on Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan speaking of resignation has gone viral sparking speculations - even as resentment was brewing in all the camps.

Chavan, a former chief minister, is already in two minds, whether to contest from Nanded, from where he is a sitting MP.

Over the past few days, there have been reports that Chavan is keen that his wife Ameeta Chavan contest the family seat from Marathwada.

On Saturday,  a video went viral, in which Chavan was clearly heard expressing displeasure over the selection of the candidate in Chandrapur.

Chavan apparently was speaking to a party worker, who identified himself as Rajurkar.

"No one is listening to me, I am planning to resign," said Chavan, a loyalist of Nehru-Gandhi family.

From the conversation, it seems to be casual and off-the-cuff remarks - but it has generated political heat.

The caller expressed anguish that Vinayak Bagde has been given a ticket.

Chavan also suggested the caller that the latter should speak to Mukul Wasik, suggesting that he was calling the shots. "But Mukul Wasnik is no one in front of you," the caller said.

Later, when reporters asked him, Chavan said he had not seen or heard the clip. "But it is true there were issues as regards the Chandrapur seat. It is an internal matter of the party, I would not discuss in public," he said.

In a related development, Chavan loyalist and Sillod MLA Abdul Sattar resigned and is all set to contest the Aurangabad seat as an Independent candidate against Shiv Sena veteran, Lingayat community leader Chandrakant Khaire and Congress leader Subhash Zambad.

Asked why he rebelled, Sattar said: "What do you mean by rebel... I had resigned earlier... I am contesting as an Independent...the party has not communicated on the resign, does it mean I resign again...come what may, I am contesting."

Later in the evening, Chavan presided over a news conference of Congress-NCP led grand alliance. But he was not in his regular self.

However, what came as a shocker was the absence of the leader of opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil in the news conference.

His son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil had left Congress - as NCP president Sharad Pawar refused to swap the seat. The junior Vikhe-Patil is now a BJP candidate from Ahmednagar and the senior Vikhe-Patil has decided not to campaign against his son.

There are issues in Shiv Sena as well - Osmanabad MP Ravindra Gaikwad had been denied ticket. It may be recalled a few years ago, he has a quarrel with Air India staffers on board an airliner that gave negative publicity to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. However, Thane MP Rajan Vichare, who a few years ago tried to force feed a Muslim youth during Ramzan at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi was not evaluated with the same yardstick.

The BJP,  meanwhile, did not give tickets to four sitting MPs - Harishchandra Chavan from Dindori and Anil Shirole of Pune. "The party did not even speak to me," said Chavan. Instead of him, the BJP fielded Bharti Pawar.

The Lok Sabha polls begin on April 11.

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