Ajit Pawar resignation: NCP legislators’ meeting today

Mumbai: A crucial meeting of the NCP Legislature Party will be held here today to discuss the political situation in the aftermath of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s resignation from the Cong-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra.

The Legislature Party of NCP will meet at 2 PM today. Party sources said several legislators owing allegiance to 53-year-old Ajit Pawar are firm that the party should quit the government and extend outside support to the Prithviraj Chavan-led ministry.

The simmering tensions in the 13-year-old coalition came to the fore yesterday with the resignation of Ajit, 53-year-old nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, following reports of scam to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees in irrigation projects during his tenure as Water Resources minister between 1999 and 2009.

20 other NCP ministers have sent their resignations to state party chief Madhukar Pichad with a demand that the party should quit the coalition.

Senior NCP leaders, including party chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, have said the resignations tendered by all party ministers, submitted to state unit chief Madhukar Pichad yesterday, were a result of being “swayed by emotions” in support of Ajit Pawar.

NCP has 20 ministers in the state’s Democratic Front government, including the Deputy Chief Minister.

Supporters of Ajit Pawar feel that the NCP leader should not budge and withdraw the resignation. They feel that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has been providing tacit support to detractors of NCP.

There are 61 NCP MLAs in the 288-member House. Congress has 82 MLAs, while opposition Shiv Sena has 45 and BJP has 47 members.

Meanwhile, an MLA, who is a part of the group of 12 independent legislators supporting Maharashtra government, said the legislators will rethink on their support in wake of Ajit Pawar’s resignation.