Cong crackdown: Kalmadi, Chavan sacked

They were sacked in the wake of embarrassing scams allegedly involving them.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010, 00:21 AM IST

New Delhi: Congress High Command Tuesday
moved into cut any further loss of face by removing Ashok
Chavan as Maharashtra Chief Minister and Suresh Kalmadi as
secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party in the wake of
embarrassing scams allegedly involving them.

Hours before the start of what is expected to be a
stormy session of Parliament, Congress General Secretary
Janardhan Dwivedi announced that Chavan has been asked by
party chief Sonia Gandhi to step down.

"Pending enquiry, his (Chavan`s) offer of resignation
has been accepted. He has been asked to tender his resignation
to Governor (K Sankaranarayanan)," he said in a brief
statement.

Later, Chavan met Governor Sankaranarayanan to tender his resignation. The Governor accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in the post till further arrangements are made.

Dwivedi also announced that the resignation of
Kalmadi, who is in the eye of a storm following allegations of
corruption in the Commonwealth Games, as Secretary of the
Congress Parliamentary Party has been accepted with immediate
effect.
Earlier, Kalmadi, who was blamed for the messy
preparations for the October Games, was asked to resign. He is
a Lok Sabha member from Pune.

A decision on Chavan`s resignation in the wake of
embarrassing revelations that three of his relatives owned
flats in the Adrash Housing Society was pending for the last
10 days in view of the high-profile visit of US President
Barack Obama to Mumbai.

The party did not want any political disturbance in
the state during his visit.

51-year-old Chavan had on October 30 offered to resign
during a meeting with Gandhi after it emerged that his
mother-in-law and two other relatives owned flats in the
housing society, which was originally meant for Kargil war
heroes and widows.

Gandhi decided to remove Chavan even before senior party leaders Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony
could submit a report on the housing scam.

Both the leaders will be in Mumbai today to attend
the Congress Legislature Party meeting as central observers.

Meanwhile, Antony in his capacity as the Defence Minister has also recommended a CBI probe into the Adarsh scam.

Earlier in the day, after Congress` announcements, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said that the government was willing to discuss
all issues with the Opposition parties and hoped that the
Winter Session of Parliament will be peaceful and productive.

"Greetings to you all. We are looking forward to the
session and we hope that this session will be peaceful and
productive," he told reporters in Parliament House.

BJP-led NDA had declared that it would not allow
Parliament to function till "strong action" is taken in the
Adarsh Housing scam.

Kalmadi has been under pressure from Opposition
parties to resign as Chairman of the Commonwealth Games
Organising Committee after the corruption allegations erupted,
but he had persistently refused to step down.

Soon after the completion of the Games last month,
Congress had left Kalmadi to fend for himself declining to
give a clean chit to him or others associated with
organisation of the Commonwealth Games.

The party decision on the two leaders comes a week
after the AICC session in New Delhi, which came under severe
criticism from other political parties and media that there
was no mention about scams involving top leaders of the
Congress.

Congress apparently did not want any further
embarrassment with Opposition parties giving notice that they
would rake up all issues relating to scams in Parliament.

PTI