Mumbai: Outgoing Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Wednesday said it was upto his party to decide on future responsibilities to be entrusted to him.
Putting up a brave face after being virtually forced to
concede his position to Ajit Pawar due to growing pressure
from legislators, Bhujbal said, "my position as an NCP worker
and leader remains the same."
Bhujbal said he has held the post of Deputy Chief
Minister thrice and felt the time has come to stop. "Hence, I
decided that the post should be held by younger leadership,"
He said Ajit Pawar has been doing good work for
strengthening the party as well as in government. "He is young
and will be able to provide good leadership to the party."
NCP sources earlier said that a miffed Bhujbal had to be
pacified for over an hour and a half at Civil Aviation
Minister Praful Patel`s residence in South Mumbai.
Praful Patel denied that there was any signature campaign
by legislators and nobody had met him, Tariq Anwar and D P
Tripathi had come in as central observers.
Patel said Bhujbal had not been sacked or replaced.
With the resignation of Chief Minister, the ministry
is dissolved and it is imperative that we chose our
legislature group leader. All the legislators unanimously
decided that the post should go to Ajit Pawar and it was
Bhujbal who proposed his name," Patel added.
When asked about NCP president Sharad Pawar`s comments last week that there would be no change in the NCP team, Patel said Pawar had asked him to act as per the wishes and sentiments of the legislators.
After the Assembly elections last year, Ajit Pawar`s
supporters had made a forceful demand for elevation of their
leader to the deputy chief minister`s post, but Sharad Pawar
had chosen to retain Bhujbal.