Sharad to decide on nephew Ajit’s resignation today

Mumbai: The crisis in Maharashtra government after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s resignation is expected to draw to a close with the intervention of Union Agriculture Minister and NCP president Sharad Pawar today.

Pawar will participate in the NCP legislature party meeting which be held at Vidhan Bhavan here at 4 PM.

The NCP legislature party has already appealed to Ajit Pawar to withdraw his resignation, sent to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday, after an expose in a section of the media on alleged irregularities in the irrigation department during his tenure as minister.

The party has authorised Pawar to take a final call on the matter.

After Ajit resigned, all the other 19 NCP ministers in the government had also handed over their resignation letters to state unit president Madhukar Pichad.

The resignation of MLAs was being seen as a show of strength by Ajit that he had the backing of the entire legislature party. However, Ajit Pawar refuted speculation of a rift with his uncle (Sharad Pawar).

NCP suspects that the chief minister was “leaking” information related to the irrigation department, a charge that has been denied by the Congress. “In the age of RTI Act, nothing can remain under wraps,” Congress sources said.

There were reports of NCP activists burning Chavan’s effigies and taking out demonstrations in some parts of the state. Congress took strong objection to this, following which Pichad issued a statement asking his party activists to stop the protests.

“Ajit Pawar’s resignation is an internal matter of our party,” he said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Congress is standing firmly behind Chavan. The party said decision on Ajit Pawar’s resignation will be taken after consultation with Sharad Pawar and Congress central leadership.

In the last four days, Chavan has been meeting legislators and party leaders and is in touch with Sharad Pawar and the Congress leaders in Delhi.