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Shivraj Patil sends resignation to PM

November 30, 2008 12:13 IST
Last Updated: November 30, 2008 13:26 IST

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Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil [Images] has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Sunday morning owning moral responsibility for the Mumbai terror strikes

Patil had been under tremendous criticism over a spate of terrorist attacks in the country since last year. He had offered to step down at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday night.

The 74-year-old Patil was inducted into the Union Cabinet despite his defeat from Latur in Maharashtra in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and has been a target of the opposition as also detractors within the party over his handling of the internal security situation in the country.

Patil had told the CWC meeting that as the home minister he "takes the responsibility and whatever the CWC decides, I am ready to do", the sources said.

Patil's remarks came in the wake of criticism by several leaders, including Union ministers P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal and H R Bhardwaj, they said.

The refrain of these leaders at the meeting was that a 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, who has been in public life for over four decades, was brought into the Manmohan Singh Cabinet as he was considered a Gandhi loyalist and Sonia Gandhi [Images] had turned down repeated demands for his ouster from the government.

Patil was also one of the serious candidates of the Congress for the post of the President last year after the tenure of A P J Abdul Kalam. But, the Left parties, which were supporting the government from outside, had put their foot down on such a proposal.

A clear hint that the home minister was in trouble was given by party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi on Saturday night.

"Only time will tell," he had remarked after the three- hour long CWC meeting, when asked whether demands for fixing responsibility on the home minister were raised at the parley.

Dwivedi had also side stepped another question whether Patil had offered to quit at the CWC meeting. "I have not heard your question," he had told the reporters.

The home minister has also been under attack from several opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party from time to time.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan has also come under attack in the wake of the terror strikes and the refrain of the Congress for the past two days has been that accountability will be fixed.

The demands for strong action also meant that it was time government set its house in order with some members saying the anger among the people over the attacks could be addressed only if urgent and concrete steps are taken.

The issue of intelligence failure also came up during the meeting and party sources said that the NSA "could also face trouble."

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