Deeply embarrassed over the Adarsh housing society scam in Mumbai, the Congress has shunned plans to send Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan to Bihar for the election campaign, fearing adverse fallout in the remaining phases of polls.
Congress sources said Chavan was to campaign in Bihar in the next couple of days for the fifth phase of elections on November 9.
"But the programme stands cancelled now. It would have had adverse impact on the party’s prospects in the remaining phases of polling," a party leader said.
Chavan is at the centre of controversy surrounding the 31-storeyed Adarsh housing society, which allegedly got the land on the promise that flats would be built for war veterans and widows but were instead allotted to politicians, bureaucrats and army and navy commanders.
Chavan’s late mother-in-law Bhagwati Sharma, sister-in-law Seema Sharma and brother-in-law Madanlal Sharma had been reportedly allotted flats in the society.
Though Chavan has offered to resign, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked party veterans Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony to go through the documents related to the society and report to her.
Chavan’s campaign was a vital part of the party’s poll strategy given the fact that Maharashtra is home to many from Bihar. The migrants, however, have frequently faced the brunt of the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s fury.
To counter this, the Congress is now sending senior state leaders, including Mumbai unit chief Kripa Shankar Singh, to Bihar to drive home the point that not only Mumbai but entire "Maharashtra is for all Indians".