MUMBAI: Ajit Pawar, the senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader today sworn-in as the Maharashtra deputy chief minister after receiving a clean chit via government white paper on irrigation.
Pawar, the nephew of NCP president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was sworn in at Raj Bhawan in Mumbai.
The oath of office to Pawar was administered by Governor K Sankaranarayanan in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Opposition Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party members, which have denounced the move, kept away from the swearing-in ceremony.
Maharashtra's Congress-NCP government went into a crisis with all other 19 party ministers offering to quit following the dramatic announcement of resignation of Pawar on September 25.
The 53-year-old Pawar had resigned after media reports alleged he had arbitrarily awarded irrigation contracts worth over Rs 20,000 crore when he was state's irrigation minister during 1999-2009, before he was escalated as deputy chief minister and handled the plum finance and energy portfolios.
The white paper, presented by the irrigation department to the state cabinet on November 29, said that a 28 per cent increase in irrigation potential in Maharashtra in the last ten years. It was described as a status paper on irrigation and not an investigation report.
A white paper on irrigation would be brought after state's economic survey report said the state's irrigation potential had increased only by 0.1 per cent between 2001 and 2010. All these years the irrigation portfolio was with the NCP.