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Ajit Pawar under pressure to withdraw resignation as NCP puts onus on Sharad Pawar

NCP legislators have spoken their mind,putting strongman Sharad Pawar under spotlight.

Written by Agencies | Mumbai |
September 26, 2012 4:19:57 pm

A crucial meeting of NCP legislators called to discuss the situation in the aftermath of the resignation of Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister today wound up within 20 minutes with a call to him to take back his papers.

The meeting,expected to be stormy due to the widening rift with 13-year-old ally Congress,ended rather tamely with the legislators unanimously adopting a resolution requesting Pawar to withdraw his resignation.

It was decided that state NCP president Madhukar Pichad would convey the sentiments of the legislators to party chief Sharad Pawar who would take a final call on the resignation by the Deputy Chief Minister.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan it yet to accept the resignation of Pawar.

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“A resolution was adopted requesting Pawar to take back his resignation,” Pichad told reporters after the meeting at Vidhan Bhawan which was attended by all its 61 MLAs,nine independents supporting the party,besides half-a-dozen MLCs.

According to Pichad,only a resolution asking Pawar to withdraw the resignation was moved and adopted and there was no political discussion due to the passing away of veteran NCP leader and former state assembly speaker Babasaheb Kupekar.

“As all of us are saddened by the demise of Babaseb,it was decided that keeping in mind the solemnness of the occasion nothing political will be discussed,” Pichad said and refused to take any questions.

He said he would seek an appointment with Sharad Pawar “in a day or two” and a “final” decision would be taken.

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad,however,said Ajit Pawar did not “react” to the demand made by the legislators for taking back his resignation.

Pawar had resigned yesterday following media reports about his alleged involvement in irrigation scam during his decade-long stint as water resources minister between 1999 and 2009.

All other 19 NCP ministers in the Prithviraj Chavan government offered to quit and even submitted their resignations to Pichad,plunging the state’s coalition government into a crisis.

The NCP leaders,including some ministers accused of financial irregularities,suspected a Congress hand behind media reports targeting them.

Sharad Pawar and his trusted lieutenant and Union Minister Praful Patel,however,hastened to dispel the impression of the Congress-NCP dispensation in the state having been caught in the throes of a crisis,saying the party would not pull out of the government.

Ajit Pawar avoided the media at today’s NCP legislature party meeting.

Meanwhile,Prithviraj Chavan stayed put at ‘Varsha’,the Chief Minister’s official residence,confabulating with senior party leaders and ministers.

He has called an “informal” meeting of Congress legislators tomorrow.

“This will not be a formal meeting but the Chief Minister would be meeting party legislators to mull over the present political situation,” a state Congress functionary said.

Tomorrow’s meeting,according to sources who did not want to be named,has been called to express solidarity with Chavan,whom those in the NCP see as somebody who leaked the information intended to damage Pawar’s reputation to the Opposition.

At a time when RTI Act is in force,information is easily available,they said. On the issue of bringing a white paper on the status of irrigation projects,sources said it was the job of the concerned department and not the Chief Minister.

“The department can bring a cabinet note on the issue and put the information on the government’s website,” they said.

Chief Minister Chavan’s announcement to bring a white paper on irrigation projects after state’s economic survey revealed that only 0.1 per cent additional area was brought under irrigation in a decade despite a whopping Rs 72,000 crore being spent during the period,had also reportedly riled the NCP.

Pawar had yesterday resented delay in bringing the white paper.

The irrigation portfolio has been with the NCP since the coalition came into existence in 1999.

Noting that Pawar’s resignation and the situation created in its aftermath was an “internal matter of the NCP”,sources said they were following a policy of “wait and watch”.

NCP to continue support to Cong in Maharashtra,UPA at centre

Kolkata: NCP chief Sharad Pawar today reaffirmed his party’s support to Congress at the Centre and at Maharashtra,where a crisis has erupted in the wake of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s resignation.

“We continue to support the government in Maharashtra and Delhi,we do not want destability,” Pawar told reporters here.

Asked whether Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan should go back to Delhi,where he was earlier a powerful minister in the PMO,Pawar said,”Whether Chavan should be there (as chief minister of Maharashtra) in Mumbai or Delhi is the internal issue of Congress,it is a prerogative of Congress and we have no view.”

Asked whether the resignation of Ajit Pawar,a senior NCP leader,was to create pressure on Congress,he said,”(There is) no question of pressure creating.”

The NCP supremo said “the NCP Legislature Party met earlier today and requested Ajit Pawar to reconsider his decision. It adopted a resolution that the final decision on the issue will be taken by the national president which will be binding.”

On whether there was a sharp division in the NCP over the present issue,Pawar said,”It was a unanimous decision taken at the Legislature Party meeting.

“There was a demand that a white paper be published and certain issues were raised. He thought that he should step down and let the picture be clear before the people of the state,” Pawar said.

The simmering tensions in the 13-year-old coalition came to the fore with the resignation of Ajit,53-year-old nephew of the NCP chief following allegations of irregularities in irrigation projects during his tenure as water resources minister between 1999 and 2009.

I will not accept any responsibility in Maha govt: Supriya

Nashik: NCP MP and daughter of Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today ruled out the possibility of being part of the Maharashtra government,which plunged into crisis after the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

“I will not accept any responsibility in the Maharashtra government as I am working with the Centre,” Sule told reporters here scotching speculations of her entry into the Maharashtra cabinet after her cousin quit yesterday.

Sule,who was here to attend the ‘Rashtravadi Congress Yuvati Melava’,she said, “Ajit Dada followed his inner voice and quit…This is not staged…he has resigned from his post really.”

She also said that there was absolutely no threat to the Congress-NCP government as assured by her father and NCP President Sharad Pawar.

When asked whether Ajit Pawar quit to mount pressure for a leadership change in the state,she said,” If our party wants any changes.. we could have done it…We have no right to change leadership in other party (Congress). There is no miscommunication between the two parties.”

As part of her tour after the formation of the Yuvati Congress,Sule has so far covered 24 Maharashtra districts tackling issues of dowry and education mainly.

“We plan to open 200 ladies hostel in Maharashtra alongwith counselling centres. Also training will be provided to girls of MPSC and UPSC.

Sule said the response to her rally in Nashik was tremendous especially after highlighting the issue of female foeticide and atrocities on women.

“The state Home Ministry is also trying its best to solve issues affecting women,” she said.

On women joining politics,the Baramati MP said,”In the next ZP and Panchayat Samiti elections,you will get to see more women in the fray.”

NCP district chief Ravindra Pagar said around 7,000 women today attended the Yuvati Melava,and discussed their problems with Sule.

Her father Sharad Pawar will attend the Rashtravadi Yuvati Congress’s rally at Aurangabad on October 26.

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