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Sep 26, 2012 at 11:23am IST

Maharashtra crisis: NCP to authorise Sharad Pawar to decide the next step

Mumbai: The NCP is expected to pass a resolution authorising its chief Sharad Pawar to decide the future course after Ajit Pawar resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Sharad Pawar had said on Tuesday that there was no threat to the ruling Congress-NCP coalition in Maharashtra. Some NCP leaders met Ajit Pawar at his residence earlier on Wednesday.

Congress leader Harish Rawat has also said that the issue will be sorted out in a couple of days. "The Congress has a good understanding with NCP, we will sort out the issue in two days," he said.

Ajit Pawar's resignation comes just before a white paper on irrigation is tabled in the state assembly and the CAG begins its audit of 32 projects for which he allegedly gave illegal clearances between June and August.

An unexpected resignation by Ajit Pawar threw the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra into a fresh crisis as his resignation was followed by other NCP ministers sending their resignations and MLAs threatening to resign enmasse.

Faced with charges of irregularities in irrigation projects during his tenure as water resources minister, the powerful NCP leader, Ajit Pawar, may be on the back foot, but his party is rallying around him.

"There is no allegation of misappropriation or corruption against Mr Ajit Pawar in black and white," NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said.

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." Sharad Pawar also denied any crisis in the Maharashtra government.

However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan refused to accept Ajit Pawar's resignation right away. Chavan has said that he will take a decision on the issue only after consultations with his ministers from both the Congress as well as the NCP. "I have received a letter from Ajit Pawar tendering resignation from the council of ministers. After discussing with leaders of both the parties, I will take further action," Chavan said.

The numbers in Maharashtra:

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.

Total - 288

Half way - 145

Congress (82) + IND (27) + NCP (62) = 171

Ruling alliance - NCP = 109 = 36 Short of majority

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