M A I N   N E W S

Chhagan Bhujbal resigns
NCP workers trash TV channel office
S. Iyer

Mumbai, December 23
Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced his resignation this evening owing responsibility for an attack on a television channel by his supporters.

Mr Bhujbal told reporters that he would submit his resignation to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar.

Earlier in the day, activists of the NCP trashed the offices of Alpha Marathi television channel, a subsidiary of Zee Television for allegedly carrying a report against Mr Bhujbal.

According to Zee Television staffers, some 50 activists of the NCP descended on Alpha Television’s premises at suburban Andheri and smashed windowpanes and assaulted employees on duty.

The police said three staff members — receptionist Carol, programming staffer Geeta Salian and secretary Kshama — were injured in the violence. A driver and two security personnel, who were also assaulted, were admitted to a hospital, the police said.

NCP activists said they were protesting the telecast of a current affairs programme ‘’Ghadle Bighadle’’ on Sunday. They said the current affairs programme had cast aspersions on the integrity of Mr Bhujbal following the allegations against him in the Telgi case.

Mr Bhujbal, who apologized for the attack on the television channel, said he was claiming moral responsibility for the actions of his supporters.

Mr Bhujbal’s resignation was expected ever since the senior politician was rushed to hospital last week. NCP leaders had then asserted that Mr Sharad Pawar had asked Mr Bhujbal to quit his post as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. It was said Mr Bhujbal would quit as Deputy Chief Minister after the winter session of the Maharashtra legislature. The winter session came to an end on Friday last.

Sources say Bhujbal has been isolated at Cabinet meetings with his colleagues from his own NCP that is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra.

Ever since the arrest of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Ranjit Sharma and Joint Commissioner Sridhar Vagal, pressure has been mounting on Mr Bhujbal even from within his party to quit on moral grounds.

What seemed to be the final straw for Mr Bhujbal was allegations against his nephew Sameer in the Telgi scam. The Special Investigating Team probing the scam has already sent out a questionnaire to Sameer reportedly on the basis of phone taps of his conversations with Telgi.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde tonight accepted the resignation of Mr Bhujbal.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |