IPL mess puts Cong-NCP ties on sticky wicket | india | Hindustan Times
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IPL mess puts Cong-NCP ties on sticky wicket

Congress-NCP ties, already delicately poised over several issues, have been further strained by the IPL mess.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2010 23:24 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

Congress-NCP ties, already delicately poised over several issues, have been further strained by the IPL mess.

This may not bode well for the UPA, whose numbers in the Lok Sabha have been reduced to 271 — 272 is the halfway mark — with the JD(S) moving towards the Opposition camp. This leaves the UPA two short of simple majority, crucial for defeating the proposed Opposition cut motions.

The three-member JD(S) of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda has joined cause with the Opposition over issues such as women’s reservation and price rise.

In such a scenario, the support of the NCP with nine MPs is vital for the survival of the Congress-led UPA government.

The two UPA partners have been at loggerheads in the recent past over several issues — from price rise to actor Amitabh Bachchan’s presence at an event in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai’s civic elections and now the IPL controversy.

The government’s decision to order a probe into the funding of IPL is seen by many in the NCP as an attempt by the Congress to cut to size their boss Sharad Pawar by launching an “indirect attack” against him.

Though Civil Aviation Minister and NCP general secretary Praful Patel gave a clean chit to the Congress, he blamed some in the party for dragging him into the controversy.

“Congress party per se is not involved in the controversy but a section of it is spreading a slanderous campaign against me,” he said.

Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule also denied any family involvement in the matter.

The Congress denies the allegations. “The Congress-NCP alliance has been running a government in Maharashtra for last 11 years. The NCP has been part of UPA for five years and there is absolutely no question of the Congress or any section of it denigrating any of the alliance partners,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said.

However, there are divisions within the Congress over the issue. While some leaders want the government to go deeper into the matter even if it causes inconvenience to Pawar, others are wary that any attempt to nail the Maratha strongman might backfire.