NCP ministers resign before cabinet reshuffle

Surprise move to pressure Cong

NCP ministers resign before cabinet reshuffle

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar took everybody by surprise on Friday when he secured resignation of all his ministers.

Apparently, this has been done to put pressure on its Democratic Front (DF) ally Congress  in the run-up to the next state and parliament polls.

Among those putting in their papers were Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Home Minister RR Patil and Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil. Meanwhile, Congress sources said Pawar had indicated to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan that he planned to reshuffle NCP ministers in the state cabinet.

“Pawar asked Chavan about Congress plans for a reshuffle, to which (the latter replied) that he was still considering one,” a source said.

This move came just hours after Pawar commented that the controversial lease renewal of Mahalaxmi Race Course should not be altered as desired by the Shiv Sena.
Even as this message came as a relief to environment conscious middle-class of south Mumbai, political circles were agog with rumours that Pawar has once thrown an unexpected card in the arena.

As per the information trickling out from the party convention held here on Friday, the NCP chief has simultaneously taken resignations of 15 ministers and other key party functionaries. The move sparked off furious rounds of rumours of a possible major reshuffle in the offing inside the party. Top NCP officials refused to comment on the development.

“By securing resignations of ministers not only has Pawar given a signal to the Congress for a change in state leadership, but has sent a message to tainted and ambitious party members,” a political observer remarked. The NCP chief is very keen to garner at least 50 seats in Lok Sabha polls apart from gleaning a major chunk in the state Assembly.

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