Says he respects party's decision, but maintains the government did not err
Saying controversies were part of the travails of political life, Ashok Chavan, whose resignation as Maharashtra Chief Minister was accepted by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan on Tuesday, said he was “100 per cent sure” that he would come out clean in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.
He was speaking to journalists at ‘Varsha,' his official residence, after meeting the Governor.
Mr. Chavan tendered his resignation letter to the Governor in the morning after the Congress leadership decided to let him go “pending inquiry” into the matter. He was accompanied by his wife Amita Chavan, Ministers Rajendra Darda, Suresh Shetty, Naseem Khan and Varsha Gaikwad, and Chief Secretary J.P. Dange. Mr. Chavan will continue as the caretaker Chief Minister till the party appoints a new candidate to the post.
In response to a question, he denied he had suffered a setback. “In politics there are lots of ups and downs; there is success and failure. I don't believe in any setback. In public life, one has to go through many situations and come clean on a number of things. I am 100 per cent sure I will come out clean in this situation. All decisions are with the high command, which decides what's best for the party. I will continue to work for the party as a worker,” he said.
Mr. Chavan said he respected his party's decision, but maintained the State government did not err in any way, and the land was State-owned. “The Congress has high moral values, principles and ideals. This is the party's decision and I have accepted it. It's my claim even today that the government has not made any mistake. What the government has done is legally [sound]. Our records clearly say the land belongs to the State. I have presented my stand before the party. The truth will come out after the probe. I had offered to resign pending inquiry.”
Steering clear of any more controversy, Mr. Chavan refused to comment on the involvement of other Ministers and officials in the scam. “As far as I am concerned, I have laid out my position. Let the party conduct a probe by any agency… It's important that the truth is brought to light. It is my request that the inquiry is completed. I have already welcomed an inquiry.”
He expressed his gratitude for party president Sonia Gandhi for giving him the opportunity to head the State twice. “I enjoy the confidence of my leader. She was kind enough to offer me the Chief Ministership of Maharashtra twice. I am grateful for whatever she has done for me so far.”
Asked what role the new Chief Minister should play, Mr. Chavan said there was no need to offer any advice. “Any candidate who sits on the chair is an able candidate.” He also thanked the media for their “support” and hoped to get it future too.