Mumbai: A day after the NCP broke its 15-year-old alliance with the Congress in Maharashtra and withdrew from the Democratic Front government, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan submitted his resignation.
“After the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ministers quit last night, the Congress-led Democratic Front government was reduced to a minority. Accordingly in the best democratic traditions, the CM decided to submit his resignation,” a top official, declining to be identified, told IANS.
The development followed a meeting between Chavan and Governor C.V. Rao. The stage is now set for either imposing President’s Rule or asking Chavan to continue as caretaker chief minister till the elections scheduled for Oct 15.
Earlier this afternoon, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse of the Bharatiya Janata Party, met the governor and demanded immediate dismissal of the Chavan ministry as it was reduced to a minority.
He also submitted a letter demanding imposition of President’s Rule in the state in the wake of the latest political developments that shook the state.
BJP leader Ashish Shelar criticized Chavan’s decision to quit after the Leader of Opposition’s demand instead of having resigned gracefully Thursday itself after his government was reduced to a minority.
“The Congress-NCP government failed on all counts and could not even complete its full term. They don’t deserve another chance and people must vote for the BJP,” he said.
Known for political stability, Maharashtra was administered centrally only once since its creation in 1960 and that too for a few months – February to June 1980.
A piquant situation has arisen this time when the election process is already underway, voting scheduled after 20 days and the incumbent government which ruled for 15 years has been reduced to a minority.
In the outgoing assembly, the Congress had 82 legislators and its ally had 62 legislators, making it the single largest group in the 288-member assembly.
The main opposition grouping – BJP-Shiv Sena – had 90 (46 and 44 members respectively), with other smaller parties and independents accounting for the rest. The 25-year-old BJP-Sena alliance had also broken up Thursday.
The Congress had 22 ministers and NCP 20 ministers in the cabinet headed by Chavan.