Free Press Journal

Industry minister quits, Fadnavis rejects resignation


Mumbai : Shiv Sena Minister for Industries Subhash Desai, accused of corruption by the Opposition, offered his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday, who promptly turned it down.

The development comes a day after Fadnavis announced a probe by Lokayukta against Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, who has been accused by the Opposition of impropriety in a slum re-development project. He belongs to the BJP. The Opposition has also accused Desai of violating norms while allegedly denotifying lands acquired by state-run MIDC in Nashik. The CM had announced that he too would have to face an inquiry by an independent authority.

“I met the chief minister at his residence and requested him to relieve me of my duties till I am proved innocent. However, the chief minister refused to accept my resignation,” Desai said, adding, “The CM told me to wait for the inquiry report.”

Desai had met his party’s chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday evening over the issue. “I met Uddhavji and told him about my decision to resign. Uddhavji then spoke to the CM and both of them decided that there was no need to resign,” he said.

Uddhav Thackeray later told reporters that politics in the state was at its lowest level and that those making allegations are themselves knee-deep in corruption. “Levelling baseless allegations and asking for resignations will dent the image of the state,” Thackeray said, adding, “The CM has promised a fair probe. We hope the truth comes out soon. The party stands firmly behind Desai.”

Reacting to the development, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said that Fadnavis turned down Desai’s resignation only to shield Housing Minister Prakash Mehta. “Unless the ministers are removed, there cannot be a fair probe. We will continue our fight against the corrupt ministers and this government,” Munde said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that Fadnavis is a political opportunist and he has never

taken a firm stand against corruption. “The CM had immediately accepted the resignation of Eknath Khadse but refused to do so now. This is because of his fear that the Shiv Sena may pull the plug,” he said.