Talks between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are stuck in a deadlock as the allies failed to arrive at a mutually acceptable power sharing formula.
Senior leaders, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, his party colleague Praful Patel and Congress General Secretary AK Antony and Congress political secretary Ahmed Patel held talks for the second day on Thursday in New Delhi.
Praful Patel said that the matter was still unresolved and that the allies would take a few more days to arrive at an amicable conclusion. The power sharing formula is proving to be the main hindrance in the formation of the government.
Despite winning a simple majority, the allies are arguing over the distribution of ministerial berths and swapping of important portfolios between them.
The Congress won more seats than the NCP in the October 13 Assembly polls and it wants the latter to part with departments like home, finance, energy and rural development.
The NCP, however, wants the distribution done as per the formula that the parties had adopted in 1999 after coming to power for the first time. The party’s state-level leaders said that they would choose to support the Congress from outside the government if denied departments of their choice.
Though Patel did not talk about any such extreme step, he reiterated that his party did not want any major changes in the 1999 formula. “The arrangement has been in place for past 10 years and we see no harm in continuing it,” Praful Patel told journalists after the meeting.
Congressman and Chief Minister-elect Ashok Chavan, who was also in New Delhi but did not participate in high-level talks, hoped for the better. “Our senior leaders will talk about it again from Friday and give us a concrete solution,” he said.