New Delhi: A day after Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil stepped down from his position, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil on Monday quit after National Congress Party (NCP) and Union Agriculture Minister Chief Sharad Pawar asked him to tender his resignation.
Patil was under tremendous pressure to resign after he described Mumbai terror strike as a ‘minor incident.’
“In a big city such as Mumbai, incidents likes these keep happening,” he told the media soon after Mumbai's 60-hour-long terror attack ended on November 29.
Earlier on Monday, Patil said he will not resign till NCP chief asks him to step down. In fact, fifteen minutes before he went in for a meeting with Pawar, Patil told journalists that he will decide after the meeting.
"I have submitted my resignation letter to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. I have gone by my conscience and decided to take this step," Patil said later.
The NCP chief and Agriculture Minister said Patil was feeling "uneasy" since the terror strikes and he had expressed his desire to step down two days back.
“RR Patil had offered to resign two days ago but I asked him to wait till the operation was over,” Pawar said. “I have called up (Vilasrao) Deshmukh and asked him to accept R R Patil’s resignation.”
The physical tendering of resignation and sending it to the governing authorities remains to be done but will be done immediately, said Patil.
The next head to roll may be that of state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who too has drawn a lot of criticism after he visited the Taj Hotel with his actor son Riteish and producer friend Ram Gopal Varma to oversee the damage.
Though Deshmukh has been under pressure to resign, the decision may have to be deferred by another day due to President Pratibha Patil's scheduled visit to Mumbai. Protocol says that the state's Chief Minister is to receive her.
Prithviraj Chauhan, Minister of State in Prime Minister Office, is emerging as the frontrunner for the Chief Minister’s post. Chauhan too has been reported to have expressed interest in the new role. The other likely incumbent is RR Rane.
Maharashtra state government says that the Centre did not share information on impending attacks with them. Centre, however, has refuted the allegation saying Maharashtra government did not take the warning seriously.
Congress is now aware that the people want change in the current leadership, leading 10 Janpath to step up the pressure, party sources say.
Surprisingly, the Opposition in the state has said little or nothing controversial. The Opposition is not aggressive. The Shiv Sena and the BJP's Gopinath Mundhe have been relatively and surprisingly quiet.