Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai who has been battling charges of corruption levelled by the Opposition offered to submit his resignation to Chief Minsiter Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday morning. The CM however refused to accept the resignation. Desai met the CM on Saturday morning a day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced in the state assembly that the Lokayukta will probe the charges of corruption against Housing Minister Prakash Mehta and an independent probe would be held against Industries Minister Subhash Desai.
“I felt that I should not be a minister when an inquiry had been initiated. For this reason I met the CM and offered my resignation. He has however refused to accept the resignation and asked me to continue. I will fully cooperate in the inquiry and accept its findings,” Desai said.
He has been accused by the Opposition of denotifying 31,000 acres of land to provide financial benefit to private developers. Desai, in his defence, claimed that while the land was denotified, it was done following laid down rules and not to benefit any individual in particular. “Several pieces of land are scattered and are fragmented in such a manner that the industries won’t be interested in purchasing them. We subsequently formulated a policy for de-notification of such pieces of land,” he told the legislative assembly in his defence.
While there has been a sustained pressure on Desai from the Opposition for his role in the denotification, the decision by him to put forth his resignation is part of a stratagem adopted by the Sena to paint itself in a different class than the BJP with whom it shares an uneasy relationship. Housing Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Mehta faces far more graver corruption charges but he has not offered to resign and the BJP so far seems to be backing him. By asking Desai to voluntarily offer to resign, the Sena wants to show that it is cut from a different cloth than the BJP.
The decision that Desai would offer to submit his resignation was made after the Industries Minister met party chief Uddhav Thackeray. Desai at 75 is one of the oldest of the five Sena cabinet ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government. Over the past few days, Desai has been suggesting that he would want to step down and work for building the party in the state.
“The party fully backs and supports Subhash Desai. It does not behove Maharashtra’s polity to demand resignations simply based on unproven allegations. Desai had however offered his resignation to me and subsequently the CM which was not accepted by the CM,” Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said.