Adarsh scam: Will CM go for clean-up exercise or damage control?

With onus on him to take action against Congress leaders and steer the party to safety in the Lok Sabha polls, Chavan held talks with MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre yesterday to chalk out a strategy

Adarsh scam: Will CM go for clean-up exercise or damage control?Finding himself in an unenviable situation over the Adarsh Housing Society scam, Prithviraj Chavan is in damage control mode. Last week, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had snubbed the Maharashtra government’s decision to reject the judicial report on the scam, maintaining that the ruling on the findings should be revisited, and he was in favour of action against those indicted.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre

With ally NCP backing the Amethi MP’s pitch, and BJP daring Congress to conduct a thorough probe into the matter, the chief minister yesterday started assessing the political fallout in view of the imminent review of the report. Chavan held talks with Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre at his official residence Varsha yesterday.

The controversial Adarsh building. File pics

The meeting, sources from MPCC said, was an attempt to figure out possible damage the party may suffer, and efforts needed to control it. If the state rescinds the decision announced on the concluding day of the legislature’s winter session, it will have to initiate action against union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and ex-CMs Ashok Chavan and Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar.

Congress has significant presence in the districts represented by Shinde and Chavan. While the former represents Solapur Lok Sabha constituency and has two MLAs in the city, Chavan is from Bhokar constituency, and the party has five MLAs and an MP from the district. Given the circumstances, Congress will have to strive hard to retain its stranglehold over these districts.

Apart from Patil Nilangekar, the party has no other credible face in Nilanga assembly constituency. Above all, the party is likely to suffer a huge setback with the indictment of its senior members in the commission report. Chavan, who wanted to bail out the party in view of the impending Lok Sabha elections, has a Herculean task before him taking action against leaders, and steering the party to safety. The talks between Chavan and Thakre revolved around these issues, which will later be communicated to the central leadership, said an office bearer of MPCC.

It was not clear till late yesterday evening whether Chavan was going to call a cabinet meeting this week – an exclusive privilege of the CM, preparations for which are made by the chief secretary’s office, said sources from the state administration. The revised action-taken report cannot be a one-line resolution, as the government will have to offer clear measures against people indicted by the commission. It will also have to take action in 22 cases of benami flats and involvement of senior officials.

Ashok Chavan’s last-ditch efforts

Meanwhile, sources from Congress said ex-CM Ashok Chavan reached Delhi on Sunday night, where he was expected to narrate his side before party leaders. With the possibility of becoming the biggest casualty and facing severe action, Chavan is making last-ditch efforts to save himself from the likely end of his political career, party sources said.

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