‘Act of cowardice’: Mallikarjun Kharge stings Ashok Chavan for switching to BJP | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Act of cowardice’: Mallikarjun Kharge stings Ashok Chavan for switching to BJP

Feb 16, 2024 09:37 PM IST

Ashok Chavan has rejected suggestions that he exited the Congress under pressure, saying he chose the better option rather than waste his time and effort

MUMBAI: Days after former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday took a swipe at politicians who have exited the party, saying it was an act of cowardice to switch parties due to fear of action by central agencies after the party workers and voters had made “big leaders”.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said he raised the issue of the BJP poaching party leaders from other parties with PM Modi at a tea meeting in Parliament (AFP FILE PHOTO)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said he raised the issue of the BJP poaching party leaders from other parties with PM Modi at a tea meeting in Parliament (AFP FILE PHOTO)

“The workers, MLAs and voters made you a big leader. Even then if you run away then I would term this as a cowardice act,” the Congress president said in his address at the opening session of the two-day training camp of party leaders in Lonavala near Pune.

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The event comes against the backdrop of three senior Maharashtra Congress leaders, Ashok Chavan, Milind Deora and Baba Siddique, leaving the party in about a month and swirling rumours that more party leaders are likely to jump the ship in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections.

Also Read: Not possible to change ideology overnight, says Ashok Chavan on shifting to BJP

“We should not get scared, those who will be terrified will perish . We will win, maybe not today but tomorrow for sure. I am convinced that you are ready to face anything (pressure),” Kharge said.

“We have to be united for the sake of democracy as Narendra Modi wants to end all the institutions and ultimately the constitution that gives equal rights to all of us.”

Kharge linked the exits from the party to the alleged use of central agencies by the BJP to arm-twist politicians and said he had even broached the topic with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at parliament complex.

“During a tea meeting in Parliament where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present, I asked him how many people are you (BJP) going to poach as ministers and ex-chief ministers are joining your fold. I asked him about the appetite (to take leaders from opposition ranks into the ruling party),” Kharge told the gathering.

“He (PM) said what could he do if people want to join the BJP. I told him they (BJP) are carrying out this work (poaching) by scaring people. He said these people want to join because of their (government’s) work,” the Congress chief added.

The Congress president countered the BJP’s thrust on the government’s track record of delivering on its guarantees, saying PM Modi has not fulfilled even a single guarantee given in 2014, right from bringing back black money, giviing 15 lakh to everyone, generating 2 crore jobs every year and doubling farmers’ income. “What happened to all those Modi guarantees?” he asked.

To be sure, Ashok Chavan has rejected suggestions from the Congress that he was acted under pressure from central agencies, saying he made the move because the Congress was shaping up for a fight and that he took the better option.

“Instead of wasting my time and effort I chose the better option. I also get a chance to work at the national level. Prime Minister Modi is doing a fantastic job which is visible at the national and international level. The opposition (on the other hand) is imploding,” he said in an interview to HT.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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