A video of Maharashtra minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan purportedly saying that his party joined the Shiv Sena-led government on “insistence” of the “Muslim community” to stop the BJP from returning to power has gone viral on social media.
The remarks were purportedly made by the PWD Minister while addressing an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally in Nanded in Marathwada region of the state recently.
Chavan told media on Tuesday that he didn’t specifically mention Muslims in his speech.
“We have a (coalition) government in place in the state. The Congress decided to join the government to avoid the (repeat of) losses the state had suffered in the last five years (when the BJP was in power).
“Our Muslim brothers also insisted that we join the government to keep the biggest enemy, the BJP, away from power,” Chavan said in Hindi.
The senior Congress leader, who had served as a chief minister of Maharashtra during December 2008 to November 2010, also said the new citizenship law will not be implemented in the state as long as the present dispensation in at the helm.
The Congress is a part of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising the Shiv Sena and the NCP.
Calling for an extensive debate on the CAA, Chavan said nobody’s Constitutional rights should be allowed to be violated.
“Secularism is our foundation. The law (CAA) should be based on the Constitution,” he said.
When contacted, Chavan said, “I didn’t speak about Muslims specifically. I had only said that all communities had told our party to join the government.”