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Adarsh-tainted Chavan gets support from MLAs

Mumbai: Congress MLAs from Maharashtra today rallied behind former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who was named in the Adarsh housing scam, saying they felt he was "victimised".

As many as 19 Congress MLAs were present at a luncheon meet here organised by former minister Abdul Sattar, which was also attended by Chavan.

Sattar told reporters he had organised the lunch because he was vacating the official bungalow allocated to him as Minister.

"Ashok Chavan is a senior Congress leader and we feel that he is being victimised," Sattar said.

Congress attendees included all seven from Chavan`s home district of Nanded, MLC Vijay Sawant, Minister of State for Medical Education D P Sawant and Independent MLAs Anil Gonde and Suresh Jethlia.

Members of Ashok Chavan`s Ministry Ramesh Bagve, Vijay Waddetiwar and Subhash Zanak were also present.

However, both Chavan and Sattar chose to downplay the meeting.

Chavan, named accused in the FIR filed by the CBI last week, said he had just come to have lunch with the MLAs.

Many MLAs present said the issue of ownership of land on which the 31-storeyed Adarsh housing society building stands, should be clarified.

Later, Sattar, Waddetiwar, Zanak and Bagve met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to convey their "sentiments".

Waddetiwar told reporters that Chavan is a party loyalist. "There is a general feeling among Congressmen that he has been sidelined. We told the Chief Minister our views on this," he said.

Leader of Opposition and BJP member Eknath Khadse described the meeting as an internal matter of the Congress.

"The legislators just met over lunch. We do not read anything beyond that," MPCC spokesman Anant Gadgil said. PTI SSG MR RSY

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