8.30pm: News just coming in suggests that Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has rejected his deputy Ajit Pawar’s resignation.
7.50pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan meets senior Congress leaders. Maharastra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre also present.
7.46pm NCP leader Devi Prasad Tripathi:
“Party ministers submitted their resignation to NCP state president Madhukar Pichad in a show of solidarity with former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. No resignation was submitted to the chief minister.”
7.34pm NCP chief Sharad Pawar to Times Now:
“I shall continue to work as a party leader. Let the entire fact go before the public. That is not correct news (on the resignation by all NCP ministers in Maharashtra). There is no question of suitability and crisis. NCP-Congress alliance will continue in the state and at the national level. Everybody is together. There is no pressure on me. There is no question of Supriya Sule taking over.”
7.30pm: Reports just in indicate that all ministers from the Nationalist Congress Party have offered their resignation to the state party president while party chief Sharad Pawar maintains that no other minister need to resign along with Ajit Pawar.
There will be a party meet tomorrow at 2pm to discuss the situation further even as sources claim that the Maharashtra government is safe for now.
In a surprise move, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar today sent his resignation to the Chief Minister, following allegations that he was involved in a multi-crore irrigation scam, and said he was willing to face a probe in connection with the case.
“I have sent my resignation to the Chief Minister’s office and it is up to him to decide whether to accept it or not,” he told reporters in Mumbai today.
The deputy chief minister was quick to deny that his resignation would affect the alliance between the NCP and Congress in the state and said he would continue to discharge his duties as an MLA from the NCP party.
“I am resigning from my ministerial posts and the party is not withdrawing support from the government,” he said.
I will go before the people to present my case and prove my innocence. I am still a NCP MLA and will carry out responsibilities, he said.
The minister also said he was willing to face an investigation by the CBI in the case.
Pawar, who has been seen as his uncle NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s successor in the state, said he had not told any of the party’s leaders before taking the decision.
” I hadn’t told anyone about this decision to resign. Not even one minister knew about this decision,” he claimed.
Pawar, who was also the minister for irrigation in the state, has been accused of approving projects worth Rs 70,000 crore that were either not completed properly or given to favoured contractors.
A PIL had also been filed in the matter by an NGO in the Bombay High court. This state was discovered to have spent Rs 66,000 crore on irrigation schemes over the last decade while achieving just a 0.1 percent increase in land under irrigation. The promise of a white paper on the subject by the Chief Minister was seen as a direct attack on the NCP and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who had held the irrigation portfolio for much of the period during the decade.