Press Trust of India
Sunday, November 30, 2008 9:22 AM (New Delhi)
Home Minister Shivraj Patil has resigned owning moral responsibility for the Mumbai attacks that left almost 200 people dead and the entire nation angry over the latter part of this week.
Patil sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday.
NDTV has learnt that current External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee or Finance Minister P Chidambaram could be the new home minister. Also, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is also likely to be asked to step down. Senior bureaucrats may also be asked to resign.
The home minister has had a troubled stint right through the over four years of the Congress-led UPA regime, and there has been a clamour for his resignation every time there has been a terror attack in the country.
At the Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday Sonia Gandhi took the lead in saying that irrespective of the elections there is a feeling that the government and the party must take responsibility.
Taking the cue, other senior leaders like Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal and H R Bhardwaj attacked Patil, without naming him, saying somebody must be held responsible.
The refrain of these leaders at the meeting was that strong action is needed in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes and accountability has to be ensured at the higher as well as lower levels.
Patil then offered to step down, saying he was ready for any decision the CWC took.
The home ministry under Patil has been criticized for not having acted upon Intelligence reports about the likelihood of a major terror attack much before the Mumbai siege happened.
Patil, who has been in public life for over four decades, was brought into the Manmohan Singh Cabinet as he was considered a complete Gandhi loyalist. Since his appointment, Sonia Gandhi had turned down repeated demands for his ouster from the government.
Patil was also one of the Congress' candidates for the post of President last year after the tenure of A P J Abdul Kalam got over. But, the Left parties, which were supporting the government from outside, had put their foot down.