All 20 Nationalist Congress Party ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet on Friday submitted their resignations to the party leadership amid reports of a large-scale reshuffle both at the government and party level.
Among those putting in their papers were Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Home Minister RR Patil and Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil.
Sources said that the move should be seen in the light of NCP chief Sharad Pawar's recent directions to party leaders asking them to prepare for next year's Lok Sabha elections.
The NCP ministers submitted their resignations to Pawar at a meeting of senior party leaders at the residence of the deputy chief minister in Mumbai, sources added.
NCP shares power with Congress in the state government.
There were reports that Maharashtra NCP chief Madhukar Pichad and party leader and Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil, too, have submitted their resignations.
The new president of the NCP state unit may be announced in around a week's time, sources said.
Meanwhile, Congress sources said Pawar had indicated to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan that he planned to reshuffle NCP ministers in the state cabinet.
"Pawar asked Chavan about Congress's plans for a reshuffle, to which (the latter replied) that he was still considering one," a source said.
Chavan too wants to go in for a rejig, it is learnt, with a few vacancies yet to be filled in the Congress quota in the cabinet.
The reshuffle of the NCP workers, sources added, is likely to take place soon.
Sources said Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan is yet to receive the resignations of the NCP ministers.
Meanwhile, reacting to the NCP move, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said: "Now that Pawar has asked all his ministers to resign, he should ensure that tainted ministers are not included in the forthcoming reshuffle."