Ajit Pawar
Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ajit PawarPIB

The legislator's meet on the political crisis within the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance scheduled on Wednesday, following the resignation of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, was cancelled due to the recent death of senior leader Babasaheb Kupekar.

NCP leaders called for a crucial meeting at 2 pm in Mumbai after Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, tendered his resignation following allegations of a mass-scale irrigation scam. With the news of the death, the meeting will be delayed with MLAs rushing to pay their last respects to Kupekar, who passed away from cancer on Wednesday morning.

According to reports, NCP leaders were to discuss the party's next course of action and also dissuade Ajit Pawar from quitting the state unit. After the announcement of his resignation on Tuesday evening, 19 ministers also submitted their resignations.

While several legislators supported junior Pawar's resignation, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is opposed to the decision and sought a discussion with Congress and NCP leaders before accepting the resignation.

Ajit Pawar's resignation fuelled speculation of the simmering tension between both parties, which his uncle clarified saying that there is no risk to the 13-year-old coalition. There was also talk of 'pressure tactics' to oust incumbent Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and the Congress from the state, NDTV reported.

"There is no question of any division within the NCP. It is purely led by Sharad Pawar.  Ajit Pawar acted on his own conscience with the permission of the party president," Senior NCP leader Praful Patel said, adding that the Ajit Pawar will remain the party leader.

Reports of the resignation came ahead of the tabling of a white paper on irrigation at the Assembly and the layout of state expenditure in the projects. Ajit Pawar, who served as water resources minister between 1999 and 2009 in the state, was accused of granting clearance to 32 projects in 2009 without gaining approval from Governing Council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.

It was alleged the irrigated areas increased by just 0.01 percent in spite of the state said to have spent 70,000 cores into the projects, the news channel said.

Ajit Pawar's party has refused to accept the charges against him. "There is no allegation of misappropriation or corruption against Mr Ajit Pawar in black and white," NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said according to IBN Live.