Home Minister Patil resigns, 'too late' says BJP

Shivraj Patil

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, under tremendous criticism over a spate of terrorist attacks in the country since last year, resigned on Sunday in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes.

Patil, who had offered to step down at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting last night, sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning, sources said.

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 the 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 complete Gandhi loyalist and Sonia Gandhi 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 got over. But, the Left parties, which were supporting the government from outside, had put their foot down on such a proposal.

Patil was criticised for his statements whenever terrorist strikes took place and he especially came under media scrutiny for his sartorial fetish on the day serial bomb blasts hit Delhi in September this year.

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