Brushing aside allegations of his involvement in the appointment of the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC), chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said he was ready to answer his critics.
On Sunday, Chavan affirmed he would not give in to the Opposition’s demand that he quit. The chief minister is under fire ahead of the state legislature’s budget session that begins on Monday. The budget will be presented on March 23.
Major opposition parties – the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena – boycotted the chief minister’s customary pre-budget tea party and demanded his resignation over his role in appointing a tainted PJ Thomas as the CVC. Thomas was removed by the Supreme Court.
This will be Chavan's first budget session after he took over last November.
The six-week session will be a stormy affair with issues such as corruption, murder of Malegaon additional collector Yashwant Sonawane, and the CVC appointment topping the Opposition’s agenda.
Chavan claimed the Opposition was politicising Thomas's appointment. “They should question us in the house, and we will give them satisfactory answers. I don’t mind them asking for my resignation.”
However, the chief minister refused to elaborate on Thomas’s appointment, saying: “I have clarified adequately. The issue is being discussed in the parliament. I’m ready to tell the Opposition why I won’t quit [as the CM].”
Regarding the probe in the Adarsh scam, Chavan said the Central Bureau of Investigation and state-appointed judicial commission were working in the right direction.
Chavan also denied the allegation that he protected his predecessor, Ashok Chavan, at a public meeting in Nanded recently. “One cannot be held guilty till he or she is proved so (by the law of the land).”