Maharashtra CM offers to resign

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan

NEW DELHI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan today offered to resign from the post after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, becoming the first political casualty to the embarrassing housing scam in Mumbai.

“I offer my resignation to you. I leave it to you take a final view on this,” he told reporters about what he told Gandhi after more than an hour-long meeting with her at her 10, Janpath residence here.

51-year-old Chavan, son of late Union Home Minister and former Chief Minister S B Chavan, became chief minister on December 8, 2008 after Vilasrao Deshmukh made his way out in the wake of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.

AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters immediately after this that “it is a fact that the Chief Minister has offered to resign” and the party President has asked senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony to give a report on the whole matter.

“Any further development on the issue would take place only after their report,” Dwivedi told reporters.

Summoned here last night after reports emerged that three of his relatives–mother in law, sister in law and brother in law–were allotted flats in Adarsh Group Housing Society in upscale Colaba in south Mumbai, Chavan flew in here this morning and drove to Gandhi’s house.

Notwithstanding his press conference in Mumbai yesterday where he put up a strong defense on the issue and made a statement that his relatives have surrendered the flat, the party high command was not impressed.

Highly-placed sources had indicated that Chavan’s continuance has become untenable in the wake of the scam and he was being summoned to give him a feel of how the party viewed the issue. (More)PTI SPG SKU
Chavan said he has placed before Gandhi all the facts relating to the housing society and that he had welcomed the CBI inquiry into it. “Whatever the facts (that come out of the probe) should be made public,” he said.

He maintained that the land on which the housing society had come up belonged to the state government and suggested that there were other chief ministers who were involved in decisions taken on the project.

Defense Minister A K Antony, who is also in charge of the Congress affairs in Maharashtra, and Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel were also present when Chavan met Gandhi.

Gandhi was said to have been deeply upset over the entire affair including the fact that three of the chief minister’s relatives were allotted flats in the Adarsh Group Housing Society meant for the families of Kargil war victims.

Accompanied by his wife Amita, Chavan earlier met Congress President’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel when the High Command’s stand on the issue was understood to have been made clear to Chavan.

Gandhi also held consultations in the morning with senior party leaders in which Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was present besides Patel, AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi and Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who also hails from Maharashtra.

The Congress high command appears to be upset with Chavan, whose mother-in-law, sister in law and brother in law, were among the 103 members of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society project in which several politicians, former Defense Services chiefs and other influential people have been allotted flats.

The land on which the 31-storey building in posh Colaba was said to have been meant for Kargil war heroes and widows.

Chavan had been involved in clearing papers for the upscale high-rise Adarsh building project in his previous capacity as the Revenue minister.

-PTI

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