The exit of Ajit Pawar from the Maharashtra government on Thursday appeared certain with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar saying the issue of the Deputy Chief Minister’s resignation is over for the party.
At the same time, the NCP chief said the offer of resignation of 19 other Ministers of the party in the state has not been accepted.
He saw no threat to the stability of the Maharashtra coalition in which his party has been a major partner for the past 13 years.
Maintaining that the decision to resign as Deputy Chief Minister was taken by Ajit himself , Sharad Pawar told PTI that after the party leadership gave Ajit “permission” to step down after due consideration, he handed over the resignation letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“After that, the issue of the resignation is over for the NCP,” he said, noting that Ajit had wanted to put in his papers so that there should not be any doubt about he pressurising anybody on the white paper on irrigation projects, an idea floated by the Chief Minister.
Ajit Pawar resigned two days back in the wake of his alleged involvement in irrigation scam of Rs 20,000 crores during his ten year tenure as Water Resources Minister between 1999 to 2009. Nineteen other party Ministers also offered to quit in solidarity.
The NCP chief said that he would be reaching Mumbai tomorrow evening and persuade the party MLAs who have been pressing Ajit to take back his decision.
Nr, Pawar is leaving for Kolhapur on Thursday to attend the funeral of former Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar, who died yesterday. He would be later going to Belgaum and then fly to Mumbai.
Asked whether the issue figured at the UPA Coordination Committee meeting, Mr. Pawar wondered how could it be possible as it was an internal issue of NCP.