With the Maharashtra government back on its feet, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday promised effective coordination between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had not affected the ties and it would remain strong, he told reporters.
In the morning, Mr. Chavan met Governor K. Sankaranarayan at Raj Bhavan and handed over Mr. Pawar’s resignation letter with his recommendation to accept it, a Raj Bhavan statement said adding the meeting lasted for one hour.
As Mr. Pawar also held Finance and Planning and Power, the Governor agreed to allocate these Ministries as additional charge to Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil and Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope respectively. Mr. Pawar had suggested their names for the posts and it was accepted by party seniors during discussions on Friday.
Mr. Chavan said that on Friday night he discussed issues of coordination with NCP president Sharad Pawar, Mr. Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel. While the NCP chief had been saying that his nephew’s resignation should be accepted, the Chief Minister had said he would discuss the matter with top party leaders before taking a final decision.
There would be no post of deputy chief minister now, Mr. Chavan said. He refused to comment on the probe into the irrigation scam or on a White Paper.
Mr Ajit Pawar resigned from all his posts on Tuesday. Mr. Sharad Pawar came to the city three days after his nephew’s decision to quit, and put things in place. While Mr. Ajit Pawar’s resignation has been accepted, his uncle ordered the other 19 Ministers who resigned in solidarity to go back to work.
The Congress was targeted by the NCP for the focus on the irrigation sector and Mr. Chavan’s agreeing to a White Paper on the subject, much to the consternation of his former deputy. In addition, chief engineer Vijay Pandhre wrote a letter to the Chief Minister in February, alleging huge scams in irrigation and reportedly backed it with more details in May, prompting the government to take the matter seriously.