Patil resigns, Chidambaram new Home Minister

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New Delhi, Nov 30 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned today, owning moral responsibility for the Mumbai terror attacks that left nearly 200 people dead, and was replaced by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

The Finance portfolio will now be looked after by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself.

Mr Patil, under fire for long over a spate of terror attacks in the country, sent his resignation to the Prime Minister who forwarded it to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

The President, who is in Indonesia, accepted the resignation, and appointed the 63-year-old Chidambaram as the new Home Minister, a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

For the Harvard educated lawyer, it will be his second stint in the Home Ministry having served as Minister of State for Internal Security in the Rajiv Gandhi Government from 1986 to 1989.

Later, when V P Singh took over as Prime Minister, he was asked by the Congress to liaise with the Government on Rajiv Gandhi's security.

The developments came hours before an all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister to discuss the terror attacks.

Mr Patil had come in for severe criticism last night at the Congress Working Committee meeting where party chief Sonia Gandhi said that irrespective of the elections there was a feeling that the government and the party must take responsibility for the Mumbai attacks.

Taking the cue, several other senior leaders were understood to have attacked the functioning of the home ministry, and called for fixing responsibility.

''In tune with the legacy of the Congress to own moral responsibily for an unforeseen tragedy, Mr Patil has resigned,'' party chief spokesperson Veerappa Moily told reporters.

Several more heads, especially of bureaucrats in the Home Ministry, are expected to roll in the wake of the terror attacks.

It was learnt that National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had also offered to step down, but the Prime Minister did not accept his resignation.

Earlier, Mr Mukherjee X X X picking up from para one of DI 20, POLITICS-PATIL-LEAD RESIGNATION TWO LAST NEW DELHI.

UNI Team YJ RP GC1736

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