The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is sticking to its demand for “larger participation in the political process” in the UPA and will let the Congress know where it stands by Thursday.
Alleging the Congress had not come out with any solution so far, NCP sources said the party would meet on Wednesday to take a final call on whether Pawar, Praful Patel and Agatha Sangma should pull out of the union council of ministers. They hinted that the NCP’s stand would be clear by the time the cabinet met on Thursday.
“We are a responsible party and it wouldn’t behove the stature of Pawar to be absent from two successive cabinet meetings. Our deadline ends tomorrow,” a senior NCP leader said.
The party dismissed reports that the motive behind the logjam was a cabinet berth for Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule.
Meanwhile in Maharashtra, it emerged that 40 Congress MLAs had written to party chief Manikrao Thakre on July 19, asking him to settle certain “issues”. Thakre denied this was a rebellion against chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has come under fire from the NCP. “The letter pertains to problems the MLAs are facing in their constituencies,” Thakre said.
Chavan, who is in Delhi for the President’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, is likely to discuss these issues with the party high command.
The state unit of the NCP, on its part, has reportedly told the central leadership that if the party plans to provide outside support to the UPA, the same formula should be followed in the state too.