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Updated: September 26, 2012 01:38 IST

Maharashtra government in crisis as Ajit Pawar quits

Shoumojit Banerjee
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A file photo of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who announced his resignation in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The Hindu A file photo of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who announced his resignation in Mumbai on Tuesday.

All NCP Ministers tender resignations to party’s State chief; Legislature Party to meet on Wednesday

In a dramatic turn of events, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar resigned on Tuesday, casting a shadow over the future of the ruling Congress-NCP coalition.

Only the top NCP leaders were informed of his decision, Mr. Pawar told journalists at Mantralaya (Secretariat). He sent in his resignation to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Later in the evening, the Congress received a fresh jolt, with all 15 NCP Ministers and five Ministers of State submitting their resignations to the party’s State president, Madhukar Pichad, after a meeting at Mr. Pawar’s residence, ‘Devgiri,’ at Malabar Hill.

“The move was meant to express solidarity with Ajitdada and send out a message of unity within the party. I will discuss the issue with our leader Sharad Pawar,” Mr. Pichad told The Hindu. The NCP Legislature Party would meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Mr. Ajit Pawar also quit as Minister for Finance and Planning and Power. But he would remain leader of the NCP Legislature Party.

His resignation came after sections of the media reported allegations of irregularities in his grant of project approvals totalling Rs. 20,000 crore during an eight-month period without the mandatory clearance of the governing council of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) when he was Water Resources Minister between 1999 and 2009.

He argued that he had powers to clear projects without the approval of the governing council. The cost of the projects, pending for the past 20 years, went above the estimate because of the increase in raw material costs. Many a time, projects had to be prioritised to do justice to the drought-hit areas, holding up several others.

“The responsibility for this decision [to resign] is mine alone and no one is to blame for it. I have abdicated my ministerial posts and would henceforth continue as a legislator. I have sounded out my seniors on this matter [of his resignation],” he said.

Strongly denying allegations of misdemeanour in clearing the projects, he said he was ready to face a CBI probe. “I do not want to be there to face allegations that I am influencing the White Paper [on irrigation]… I am clean and will go back to the people to seek a fresh mandate.”

Denying that he was pressured to resign, he said, “Even when people are doing good work, there are efforts to create an atmosphere of suspicion and doubt…If I continued amid these allegation, the people of Maharashtra would accuse me of clinging on to my post.”

Asked why other senior NCP leaders such as PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare have not resigned, he said: “Each one has a different way of dealing with a particular situation.”

The much-awaited White Paper should be brought out as fast as possible to clear any doubt in the minds of people. It should be out by the start of the winter session of the legislature.

Mr. Ajit Pawar has recommended to the Chief Minister that the Finance and Planning portfolio be given to Jayant Patil and the Power Ministry to Rajesh Tope.

Its quite surprising, people who do not politics of Maharashtra are
commenting and given their verdict.

I even doubt how many know of the political career and the personality
of Ajit Pawar before.

Its not a free for all to comments, jus cause there is "MAKE A
COMMENT" question.

Give the man credit that he atleast resigned, no like Yedurappa,
Narendra Modi, host of central ministers who have still held on to
their positions.

Let the election come and you will the power of the Pawars.

from:  Rahul Patil
Posted on: Sep 26, 2012 at 23:15 IST

Why CBI never tried to arrest Narendra Modi for his Godhara genocide IN
Gujraat because Congress will get Muslim vote if Modi projected as PM
candidates....it is Congress want Modi to be PM candidates not BJP.

from:  Amir Shaikh
Posted on: Sep 26, 2012 at 13:17 IST

Going by the recent trends of various Schemes -- 2G, Coalgate, Thoriumgate -- in which loss to the Exchequer is in multiples of lakhs of crores of rupees, this Irrigation Scheme (I prefer calling them Schemes than Scams, because Schemes have a set of particular beneficiary(ies) behind it) is only Rs.72,000 crores. That way we can salute Mr. Ajith Pawar that he has done the nation a huge favour that it is less than one lakh crores of rupees by about Rs.28,000 crores. Let us say Hail Pawar, thank you buddy. Let us request your daddy to direct you to withdraw your resignation so that you can finish the unfinished job of reaching it to one lakh crores of rupees. This country deserves nothing less than leaders like you who have social justice at heart at all moments of your lives.

from:  Sri Aiyer Raju Sreenivasan
Posted on: Sep 26, 2012 at 08:48 IST

Sharad Pawar is adept in arm-twisting the Congress by submitting this so-called resignations and withdrawing them after getting what he wanted. Remember the resignations that he and Praful Patel submitted to the PM and then widthdrew it after a week or so.

from:  Natarajan
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 23:48 IST

Rifts within coalitions are nothing uncommon, mainly because most of the alliances happen to be nothing but marriages of convenience. Lack of mutual trust is always there, though its outward symptoms remain carefully concealed till an absolute need arises. The smaller allies, lending support, fully well know the weaknesses of the major one which leads and invariably try to extract their pound of flesh from the latter. That is what is happening both at the centre and in the states where coalition governments exist. This situation is something akin to the tails wagging the dogs. The Congress-led UPA II at the centre is passing through a difficult situation and the NCP is well aware of it. The relationship between the two parties has not been that good right from the beginning. NCP- partner in Maharashtra ruling coalision- has perhaps thought the time is ripe for it to show its might.

from:  K.D.Viswanaathan
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 23:26 IST

This is only a drama. The Cong-NCP government in Maharashtra is looting Maharashtra state since 1999 with NCP having the lion's share in it. Off late, Kirit Somayya has dug out many huge corruption cases against NCP ministers including Ajit Pawar, Bhujbal, Tatkare, Deokar and many more. The corruption amount involved in all these cases is in many billion rupees.

In order to divert attention of the public from their corruption scandals and failures on all fronts, Ajit Pawar has played the game of resignations. He will take it back in a couple of days and then it will be "Business As Usual" for the government.

from:  Satish
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 22:46 IST

Soniaji, Do not move Chavan to the centre to appease NCP. Chavan will meet the expectations of all Maharashtrians as a clean and efficient leader.Let Ajit Pawar and other Ministers against whom strong allegations of irregularities have been leveled prove that they are clean and then get back in to the Government with a bang. People will appreciate this act and recognize the NCP suitably in the next pools.

from:  Kousalya Murali
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 22:40 IST

Mind boggling amounts are involved in these scams. So far the scams at the State level have not received the same media attention as those at the Centre. But there is no doubt that the politicians (and the bureaucrats) at all levels (State, Central and local) are engaged in wholesale looting of nation, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt on the planet, and are getting away free. The CBI should be made autonomous so that it can freely investigate these cases. Even the CVC should be accountable when these scams are unearthed.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 20:42 IST

Whoa!!
Here we go again.
Welldone Pawars

from:  Diva Das
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 20:34 IST

This is not serious issue as Maharashtra is concerned. He is only mounting pressure on congress to change Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and is known as Mister clean. The CM overpower the NCP and never give attention toward muscle and money politics of Ajit Pawar.

from:  Nitin Patil
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 19:17 IST

The Best News of the day.He had no choice.This was overdue,thanx to Eng.Pandhare for speaking out the truth.Good this all happened when Pruthviraj Chavan is Still CM.He had asked for Shevat patrika already.So we hope the enquiry is done meticulously.
This should encourage many more Engineers and all Govt officials to throughaway this ever incresing burden of Political interference.I hope atleast now all Technocrats will stand up in support of Mr.Pandhare and not miss the golden opportunity to regain their SELFRESPECT.I appeal to the families of all to encourage their family member to speak up about the wrongthings happening around.Not being involved also is not enough.The indifference of the Few Honest but timid people also indirectly contributes to such Scams.So let us all gear up for Clean up.We need to keep following CBI enquiry also.

from:  Suhas Kolhekar
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 19:01 IST
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