Will Congress forgive and forget?

A controversy is ostensibly a matter for common people — and not political parties — to debate, ponder and deduce. Take the case of former state CM Ashok Chavan, who has been facing a number of controversies, be it over his involvement in Adarsh society scam, an ongoing paid news case or a recent court matter over allotting additional FSI to Sea Rock Hotel. Despite all this, the state Congress unit chief was all praise for Chavan, while reacting on the party’s inspired performance at Nanded civic body polls, the ex-CM’s hometown.

What Manikrao Thakre said yesterday can be construed as endorsement of Chavan by the Congress, despite his embroilment in a number of controversies. It also shows that the party is in no mood to reject him. Chavan’s case is certainly not a unique one. Union ministers such as Sriprakash Jaiwal and Subodhkant Sahay, and Rajendra Darda from the state, who are facing criticism in connection with coalgate, have not been asked to step down. Even Salman Khurshid is being fully backed by the party. Congress never asked late Vilasrao Deshmukh, against whom SC and Bombay HC passed some severe strictures, to quit.

For political parties, an unambiguous court verdict against a particular leader seems to be the sole criteria to disown him. Otherwise, parties continue to support such netas with a clear eye on their clout to ensure election wins — be it in parliament or local bodies.

Chavan’s case fits this criterion and sources say he may also get a cabinet berth, for which he is clearly eager.

Before resurrecting Chavan, one can only hope that Congress will wait for the two-member inquiry commission report and the final outcome in the paid news case. His political rehabilitation may happen despite the fact that three of his close relatives are allegedly direct beneficiaries of the Adarsh society scam.  

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