Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has refused to accept the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, said sources.
The Chief Minister, who was on his way to Pune, had returned after Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, announced his decision to quit as the Deputy Chief Minister over allegations of irregularities in irrigation projects.
This came after other ministers from the NCP in the state Cabinet offered to resign and other party legislators demanded that the support to the government be withdrawn, and outside support be given.
Chavan, who was on his way to Pune, returned after Ajit Pawar, the nephew of Sharad Pawar, announced his resignation as the Deputy CM.
However, NCP chief Sharad Pawar maintained that his party did not intend to topple the government, adding that no one other than Ajit Pawar needed to resign.
The NCP chief hailed Ajit Pawar over the move saying his decision was right. He further demanded a white paper on the alleged scam at the earliest so that "truth comes out before the people of Maharashtra".
It was alleged that during the tenure of Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, as the irrigation minister of Maharashtra, there had been irregularities in awarding contracts for irrigation projects.
Ajit Pawar had allegedly given hurried clearances to as many as 32 irrigation projects. The clearances were allegedly given without mandatory go-ahead from the governing council of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.
He had held the state irrigation portfolio between 2000 and 2009. Over Rs 66,000 crore were spent in the last 10 years but resulted in just 0.1 per cent increase in irrigated crop area.