CM Chavan gets Delhi summons

Talk of a change of guard in Maharashtra is gaining ground in Congress circles. Though chief minister Ashok Chavan on Friday ruled out his resignation over the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society controversy, the Congress high command “summoned” him to be in New Delhi on Saturday and clarify his position.

Asked whether the high command plans a change of guard in Maharashtra, well-placed sources said, “not right now”. If insiders are to be believed, a change could take place after the AICC session.
Mr Chavan, re-elected chief minister for a second time in November 2009, has not been able to influence the high command. While his recent comments on Rohinton Mistry’s book Such a Long Journey is seen as backing the Shiv Sena’s demand, the controversy on the Adarsh Society in Mumbai is embarrassing the party. The other day Congress president Sonia Gandhi held consultations with senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony against the backdrop of the controversy.
On Friday, AICC spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters, “We are not holding any brief for anyone who might be responsible... We do not want to shield anyone’s misdemeanour or indiscretion... Let us await the outcome of the inquiry.” He was replying to a volley of questions on the issue, including whether Mr Chavan would step down as the name of his late mother-in-law, Bhagwati Manoharlal Sharma, had come up as a beneficiary in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai.
Government managers are assessing how the Opposition will use this issue to corner the Centre in the Winter Session of Parliament. The alleged irregularities in the CWG and the nexus between politicians and officials, as in the Adarsh Society controversy, are seen as damaging the Congress’ image.
The main Opposition BJP demanded action against Mr Chavan if he is found to be the “kingpin”.
“The Adarsh Society scam is just one in a series of several scams in which the Congress is embroiled. We demand that a thorough inquiry be instituted and allotments cancelled. If it is found that Ashok Chavan is the kingpin of the wrong-doers, then he should be punished,” BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said.
But in Mumbai Mr Chavan saw nothing wrong in his relatives appearing among the beneficiaries
“Distant relatives... If they are eligible, then there is no reason to deny them (flats). Seema Sharma and Madalnal Sharma are distant relatives. Today they have informed in writing that they have resigned from the society (sic),” he added.

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