Mumbai: As Adarsh Housing Society scam accused Ashok Chavan's candidature drew fire, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday came out in his support saying no law bars former Maharashtra chief minister from contesting polls. Chavan has filed his nomination from Nanded.
Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a review petition in the Bombay High Court to get charges against Chavan dropped.
Sonia Gandhi said, "As far as we know Ashok Chavan is not barred from contesting polls by law or Election Commission."
With Sonia's backing, Chavan, who was chargesheetd by the CBI in the Adarsh scam, indicted by the Adarsh judicial commission of quid pro quo and was out in the political wilderness for close to three years, was rehabilitated.
Chavan said, "The Opposition has no moral authority to criticise me."
Chavan's presence in Rahul Gandhi's rally in Aurangabad was the first clear indication that he was no longer a pariah even for the party's Vice President who was fashioning himself as an anti-corruption crusader."
BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman hit out at the Congress saying, "Rahul Gandhi who was talking as though he can't tolerate corruption now face to everybody to say how is this being accommodated."
But the political compulsions were hard to ignore. The death of Vilasrao Deshmukh in 2012 left a leadership vacuum in Marathwada, which accounts for eight Lok Sabha and 46 Assmebly seats.
A strong section of the Congress led by those like MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre have been pushing for Chavan, the sole Marathwada mass leader of the party. He was also seen as a charismatic campaigner to ressurect party's chances.
As Chavan's supporters rejoice his return to the centrestage, the question is will the issue of corruption that dominated pre-election discourse not matter when the nation votes.