TNI Bureau: The resignation by Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Ajit Pawar, in the wake of being accused in an irrigation scam, threw Maharashtra’s Democratic Front government into a fresh crisis. Following the footsteps of NCP stalwart,19 other party ministers also offered to quit and party MLAs tendered to resign from the Congress-NCP coalition government.
The resignation come just ahead of a white paper on irrigation to be tabled in the Assembly and the beginning of CAG audit into irrigation projects. Rs 70,000 crore were spent on these projects over a decade with only a 0.01 per cent increase in irrigated area.
However, Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan has refused to accept Ajit Pawar’s resignation and has sought time to come to a decision
Faced with charges of irregularities in irrigation projects during his tenure between 1999 to 2009 as water resources minister, Ajit Pawar, may be on the back foot, but his party is rallying around him.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar also supported his decision saying, “Facts should come before the people of Maharashtra. So we have given permission to him and I feel proud about that.” He also denied any crisis in the Maharashtra government following this issue.
The ruling Congress-NCP combine has 171 MLAs in the Assembly, placing it comfortably over the half-way mark. If the NCP withdraws, the government will fall short of majority by 36 MLAs.