New Delhi, Dec 1: After union home minister Shivraj Patil, Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil quit on Monday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and now chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh also appears to be on the way out.
"I offered to resign at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Saturday," said Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh
"High Command will decide (on the resignation issue)," he said.
Earlier, highly placed Congress sources said Deshmukh has offered to resign and a decision on it will be taken in a day or two.
The offer comes after the CWC meet attended by Deshmukh on Saturday evening which saw leader after leader emphasising the need to ensure accountability from "higher to lower level".
Party leaders say since the union home minister has resigned at the higher level, the accountability now needs to be fixed at the lower level also and the Chief Minister has to take a call at the earliest.
His deputy R R Patil resigned three days after the terror strikes and his party chief Sharad Pawar has asked the chief minister to accept the resignation.
"We have taken our own decision. It is for them to take their decision," the NCP supremo said when asked whether the chief minister, who belongs to Congress, had also quit.
A Congress leader, who declined to be named, said if either the CM or the deputy CM goes, "the other will have to go because the issue is the same".
A beleaguered Deshmukh landed himself in a fresh controversy yesterday as he visited the terror-hit Taj Mahal hotel along with film producer Ram Gopal Varma and Deshmukh's actor son Reitesh.
The issue was raised at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night which was also attended by Sonia Gandhi with some parties criticising the CM for his "casual" attitude.
Deshmukh recently completed four years in office. The names of union ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Sushil Kumar Shinde are doing the rounds to replace the chief minister and sources say a decision on the successor's name was delaying Deshmukh's resignation.
The name of NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal is doing the rounds for the post of the Deputy CM.
A section of Congress leaders say that strong steps are needed to ensure that the party meant business when it comes to issues of the country's security.
The Maharashtra deputy chief minister, who was in the crosshairs in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, resigned earlier today.
"I have submitted my resignation letter to chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. I have gone by my conscience and decided to take this step," Patil said.
"I pondered over the issue the whole night yesterday. Finally, I have decided to quit as per my conscience," Patil said.
Patil's resignation follows the exit of the union home minister Shivraj Patil, who put in his papers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday, after the Congress Working Committee spoke disapprovingly of the home minister, in light of the Mumbai carnage and other terror strikes in the country.
The Maharashtra deputy chief minister, who was also in charge of the state home ministry, was under severe criticism following the terror attacks with opposition Shiv Sena and BJP demanding his resignation alleging that he failed to handle the situation.
The Congress leadership is annoyed with R R Patil, particularly because of his insensitive remark on Saturday where he sought to play down the enormity of the jihadi atrocity against Mumbai, almost likening it to a routine law and order incident which is common in any big city.
On Saturday, Patil had described the Mumbai carnage as a "small incident" that "can happen in big cities."