Shivraj Patil quits, Chidambaram gets home ministry
New Delhi (IANS): Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned Sunday under a cloud following the Mumbai terrorist massacre, and Finance Minister P. Chidamabarm was promptly given additional charge of the ministry, Congress sources said.
Patil sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following a late night meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) Saturday where he first made the offer to step down.
Congress sources said Patil took the decision to leave the cabinet in the wake of widespread criticism of his handling of the home ministry as well as the failure to check recurring terrorist attacks in India.
Kerala Congress unit president Ramesh Chennithala told IANS that Chidambaram would look after the home ministry until further notice.
Patil's resignation is being seen as a damage control exercise by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"Yes, he (Patil) has taken the moral responsibility and has decided to quit," Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan earlier told reporters here.
"(What happened in Mumbai) is horror and the government is taking it very, very seriously. It was an outrageous attack on India's sovereignty. The most important thing is to protect the country and its citizen," she said.
Patil's resignation came amid elections in six states whose outcome is expected to have a bearing on Lok Sabha polls due early next year.
Terrorists who India says came from Pakistan sneaked into Mumbai by boat Wednesday night and killed 183 people, including 22 foreigners, leaving the country stunned.
Even as security forces fought the terrorists who took over two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre with hostages, Patil came under further attack for revealing publicly the number of commandos and when they left New Delhi for Mumbai.
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