Vilasrao Deshmukh resigned as chief minister of Maharashtra at a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon.
With the Congress's partner in the government, the Nationalist Congress Party, saying it is 'not averse' to Sushilkumar Shinde becoming chief minister, it is widely expected that the dalit leader from Solahpur will succeed Deshmukh.
In a day of high drama, the CLP met at the Sahyadri Guesthouse and adopted a unanimous resolution authorising the party high command to take a final decision on the leadership issue.
State minister and senior Congress leader Rohidas Patil moved the resolution, party sources said in Mumbai.
Earlier, Shinde met NCP leader and Public Works Department Minister Vijay Singh Mohite Patil at his official residence in Mumbai.
Patil welcomed him with tilgul, a traditional Maharashtrian sweet, and a bouquet.
The NCP leader had earlier put up a stiff opposition to Shinde taking over from Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Shinde said both Patil and he hailed from Solahpur district in southern Maharashtra and there had been certain 'misunderstandings', which have been 'cleared completely'.
In the morning, Deshmukh met the three-member AICC delegation comprising Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Vayalar Ravi.
Ravi also had a fresh round of talks with the NCP, apparently to convince it to accept a non-Maratha as chief minister.
Meanwhile, Governor Mohammed Fazal is expected to return to Mumbai from New Delhi in the evening, Raj Bhavan sources said.
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Maharashtra CM asked to step down
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Shinde emerges as front-runner to replace Deshmukh
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