Businesses in Maharashtra's Baramati town, a stronghold of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), were shut in the morning hours on Wednesday to protest the resignation of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
The NCP leader's resignation Tuesday evening had also led to protests in other parts of the state, including Yavatmal, Aurangabad and Pune. Nineteen of his party colleagues also offered to quit by NCP chief and Ajit Pawar's uncle Sharad Pawar said no.
The shutdown in Baramati, about 250 km from here in Pune district, saw all businesses and trading establishments closed till 11 am, hours before a crucial meeting of the NCP to discuss the issue.
Baramati has been the traditional stronghold of NCP chief and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who has represented it virtually uninterrupted in parliament. His daughter Supriya Sule is currently MP from Baramati, which falls in Pune district.
Overnight protests continued against Ajit Pawar's sudden resignation which has pushed the state into a political crisis. In Yavatmal, NCP activists burned an effigy of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and demanded that Pawar be reinstated in the cabinet.
Similar protests were witnessed in Aurangabad, Pune and other towns in the state expressing solidarity with Pawar.
Tempers cooled down with the death of senior NCP leader and former speaker Krishnarao R Desai, known as Babasaheb Kupekar, on Wednesday morning.
Ajit Pawar's resignation plunged Maharashtra into a political crisis, confounding the Congress, the senior partner in the coalition with NCP.
Ajit Pawar quit in a cloud of allegations that he had arbitrarily doled out irrigation contracts worth over Rs 20,000 crore when he was the water resources minister between 1999-2009, before he was elevated as deputy chief minister, handling the plum finance and energy portfolios.
Amid a clamour by NCP legislators to quit the ruling Democratic Front coalition, all the remaining 19 NCP ministers also offered to quit and sent in their resignations to state party chief Madhukarrao Pichhad.
The resignations will be discussed at a crucial NCP meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Mumbai where top party leaders and all legislators are expected to remain present.