Governor accepts Ajit Pawar's resignation



Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan Saturday accepted the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who also held the finance, energy and planning portfolios, an official said.

Pawar's resignation, submitted to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan last Tuesday, takes immediate effect.

In his place, the governor agreed to Chavan's request to allocate the finance and planning portfolios to Jayant Patil, who also holds rural development, and the energy portfolio to Rajesh Tope, who is also minister for higher and technical education.

The developments followed an hour-long meeting between Sankaranarayanan and Chavan at Raj Bhavan.

This draws curtains on a political crisis which started last Tuesday with Pawar's resignation. All 19 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ministers later offered to quit the Congress-led Democratic Front government.

NCP chief and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, while announcing that his nephew Ajit Pawar's resignation has been accepted, Friday said the resignation offers of all other 19 ministers had been rejected.

Ajit Pawar (53) abruptly quit the state cabinet Tuesday amid allegations of arbitrarily doling out irrigation contracts worth over Rs. 20,000 crore, when he was the water resources minister between 1999-2009.

All 19 NCP ministers in the cabinet also followed suit and offered their resignations to state chief Madhukarrao Pichhad, sparking a political crisis.

However, ending the political stalemate, Sharad Pawar also urged Chavan to bring out a 'white paper' on the state irrigation scenario.

"We fully support this initiative and want that it should be brought out as early as possible," Sharad Pawar said, putting a lid on the crisis.

IANS