Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has drawn flak from Congress leaders for his controversial remarks about his predecessors and the Adarsh society scam.
"Chavan should not have made those remarks," former chief minister Narayan Rane, who was the party's poll campaign in-charge, said.
"It does not matter if the remarks were on record or off record. He should not have made them," Rane told a Marathi channel, when told that Chavan had clarified that those were "off the record" comments and had expressed regret over it.
"His chief ministerial post would not have remained intact by finishing off Congress. He should have remembered that Congress will be in difficulty with such remarks," Rane said.
When pointed out that Chavan had said it was a "mistake" to have made those remarks, Rane said, "He said it was a mistake after elections, not before."
The state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre on Friday termed the party leader and the former chief minister controversial statement as "unfortunate".
"No case has been made out against former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde and the late Vilasrao Deshmukh in the Adarsh case. The statement - had he (Prithviraj Chavan) initiated action against them, the party would have been decimated in the state -- is unwarranted," Thakre said in Mumbai.
"A wrong message was sent out and it put a question mark on the party ahead of the polling in the crucial Assembly elections," Thakre added.
The state Congress chief also dismissed the exit polls' prediction that BJP would emerge as the single largest party.
"We are confident that our performance will be good," he said.
To a question on NCP leader Praful Patel's statement that his party will play a crucial role in the formation of the next government in Maharashtra, Thakre said NCP's stand had always been suspect.
When asked if the Congress's campaign was lacklustre compared to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies in the state, Thakre said even in 2009 Modi had campaigned in the state but it made no difference.
Congress leader from Marathwada and a close aide of late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Trimbakdas Zanwar, said "Chavan should not have made the remarks." "Making such grave charges leads to damaging party prospects. His remarks, which came on the eve of polling, have damaged the party," Zanwar, former president of Latur district Congress committee, told PTI.
"Vilasraoji was a very senior leader and no charge against him was proved. The High Court and CBI had given him clean chit (in Adarsh case)," Zanwar said.
Amid a controversy over his reported remarks about his predecessors and the Adarsh Society scam, former Chavan had yesterday expressed "regrets", saying it was an "inadvertent mistake".
"It happened inadvertently. My chat after the interview was recorded. It was a mistake. I have expressed my regrets. What happened was wrong," he had said.
In an interview to an English daily, Chavan was quoted as saying that had he initiated action against his predecessors (former chief ministers) Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh case, the party would have been decimated in Maharashtra.