Former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who was given the Congress ticket from Nanded constituency in central Maharashtra, told HT that he would retain his family bastion and that despite the perception created by vested interests he faces no corruption charge in the Adarsh housing scam and has not been convicted by any court. Excerpts:
After three-and-a-half years of near-political exile, this Lok Sabha ticket is being seen as your political rehabilitation by the Congress.
I don’t think it is about my political rehabilitation. It’s about winning more seats for the party. I am grateful to party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for reposing this faith in me. We won Nanded last time and we will retain it this time.
Hasn’t the party compromised on its anti-corruption agenda for political gains by giving you a ticket as you’re an accused in the Adarsh case?
I have not been charged with corruption in the Adarsh case, there are no allegations of any money transactions against me. There have been certain allegations of quid pro quo, which haven’t been proven. So, there is no compromise on the anti-corruption plank by giving me a candidature. This is the perception created by certain vested political interests and media against me. I have not been legally convicted of any offence. We need to see the whole picture and not just persecute people by holding media trials.
Don’t you think your candidature has given ammunition to the Opposition and could damage the Congress image in Maharashtra?
I think the Opposition has its plate full and is in no position to point fingers at me. The BJP has re-inducted BS Yeddyurappa, who was convicted by the Lokayukta in the huge mining scam. They have also got back Sriramulu, another accused in the mining scam back in their fold. Let them first come clean on this and then level accusations. I have not been convicted by anyone and there is no comparison between the mining scam and Adarsh.