Congress aligned with Sena as Muslims insisted on keeping BJP out, says Ashok Chavan; BJP hits back

Ashok Chavan said, "I didn't speak about Muslims specifically."

BJP on Tuesday launched a stinging attack on Maharashtra former chief minister Ashok Chavan after a video of the Congress leader purportedly saying that his party took the approval of the Muslim community before aligning with the Shiv Sena to stop BJP from returning to power went viral.

"Maharashtra Congress leader Ashok Chavan admits that his Party took approval from Muslims before forming Government with Shiv Sena. Its high time @INCIndia changed its name to Indian National Muslim League. Wondering if @RahulGandhi took the consent of @ImranKhanPTI Niazi also," BJP tweeted.

In a video that has gone viral, Chavan is heard saying that on "insistence" of the "Muslim community" Congress joined hands with the Sena to stop BJP from returning to power, PTI reported. The remarks were purportedly made by the PWD Minister while addressing an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally in Nanded in the Marathwada region of the state recently.

"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 is heard saying in the video.

However, Chavan told PTI on Tuesday he did not specifically mention Muslims in his speech. "I didn't speak about Muslims specifically. I had only said that all communities had told our party to join the government," he said.

Speaking at the CAA rally, Chavan also said the new Citizenship law would not be implemented in the state as long as the present dispensation was at the helm. Calling for an extensive debate on the CAA, Chavan said nobody's Constitutional rights should be allowed to be violated.