Finally, Deshmukh puts in his papers

Written by Political Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Dec 5 2008, 05:38am hrs
The beleagured Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who came under severe attack for his casual approach in handling the terrorists strike in Mumbai and also visiting the devastated Taj Mahal hotel accompanying his actor son Ritesh and film maker Ram Gopal Varma, on Thursday submitted his resignation to the state Governor SC Jamir. The submission was a mere formality as the party high command on Wednesday night had accepted his resignation. The Governor has accepted Deshmukhs resignation asking him to continue in office till alternate arrangements are made.

(Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane, who joined Congress three years ago after a three-decade stint in Shiv Sena, is likely to replace Vilasrao Deshmukh as chief minister.

Ranes name has been okayed by the high command, with AICC in-charge for Maharashtra, AK Antony backing Rane. Whats more, even NCP, Congress' alliance partner, is amenable to the move, party sources told PTI on Thursday.)

Earlier, the 63-year old Deshmukh, who last month completed fourth year of his second term in the office, thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for giving him an opportunity to be at the helm of affairs in the state on two occasions. From a sarpanch in the underdeveloped Latur district to the CM for two times, Deshmukh said he was happy that he was leaving the office without the stigma of facing allegations of corruption or strictures passed against him.

Deshmukh at the crowded press conference admitted that the state government could not save so many lives lost in the terrorists attack. It was a war against India, he noted and added that he can understand the peoples outcry and anguish against the state government as a lot of innocent persons have lost their lives in the terrorists strike.

Deshmukh tried to put up a brave front and claimed that Congress is the only party which honours people's sentiments. Shivraj Patil quit following terror attacks. This did not happen in non-Congress governments. The then Home Minister did not quit after Parliament was attacked. BJP should emulate this, he said.