Newly-appointed Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan on Monday said his party will be a formidable opposition to the BJP-led state government and take to streets on the issues of scrapping of Muslim reservation and controversial Land ordinance.
Addressing workers after assuming the charge at the party headquarters, former chief minister appealed for cooperation from them to help him steer the unit as “challenges for the Congress were difficult but not impossible to achieve.”
Interestingly, Prithviraj Chavan who had replaced Ashok Chavan as CM, and the senior leader Narayan Rane did not attend the event.
However, party general secretary Sharad Ranpise said Prithviraj Chavan was out of the country and has conveyed his wishes to the new Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief.
There was no mention about absence of Rane who had earlier objected to Chavan’s appointment, saying senior leaders like him were not consulted on the issue.
Chavan said he had asked the party legislators to take on the BJP-led government in the Legislature on the issue of scrapping of Muslim reservation in jobs.
“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis says the ordinance (on Muslim reservation issued by erstwhile Congress-NCP government) has lapsed. But why did government allow it to lapse,” Chavan asked.
He said the BJP government at Centre may get the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha on the basis of its numerical strength but the Congress will take to the streets to oppose the proposed law.
Chavan said reviving the Congress in Maharashtra, wherein it had been decimated both in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, cannot be done by him alone.
“It will be a collective effort and a full time job for party workers. We have to see how we failed to feel the pulse of the people (though) we worked a lot while in government but failed to create a (positive) perception in minds of people,” Chavan said.
He said it was important to highlight “facts” because what is seen is more important in present times.
“This programme is going on well but if I close my eyes for a second, cameras will capture only that and say Ashok Chavan was sleeping. What is seen is more important in present times..So we have to highlight what are the facts,” he said.
On the occasion, he appealed to Congress workers not to indulge in factionalism.
“For me, Congress party is my group. I will ensure that meritorious and result-oriented workers are encouraged,” Chavan said, adding that upholding secular values and fighting attempts to polarise society is also the main job of Congress.