Alliance partners, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are fighting again. After an NCP leader Ratnakar Mahajan said it was time for his party to merge with the Congress, Congress spokesperson Hussain Dalwai added fuel to the fire on Tuesday, when he accused the NCP of triggering riots in Sangli to win the local Assembly seats last year.
State NCP President Madhukar Pichad refuted the charge vehemently and said it was Dalwai’s personal opinion. “The state Congress president has told me that he will reprimand Dalvai.”
State Congress President Manikrao Thakre was quick to douse the fire. He disowned Dalwai’s comments.
“What Dalwai said is not the Congress’s stand. I have told this to Pichad,” he told Hindustan Times from Yavatmal. “A merger with Congress is the NCP’s internal matter. I will not comment on it.”
NCP leader and Home Minister RR Patil dismissed Dalwai’s allegations.
“I will give my opinion after the inquiry (into the riots) is over.”
While the Sangli riots case appears to have ended, the two parties have started bickering over distribution of the cabinet berths.
NCP wants the Congress to part with two more Cabinet berths because there are five vacancies yet to be filled in the 43-member council of ministers. However, the Congress claims to have got the disputed five seats in an arrangement finalised last year between the allies.
Then NCP had included 20 ministers and the Congress had included 18 ministers.
The NCP has taken up the Cabinet berth sharing issue ahead of its MLC, Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar’s swearing-in on Wednesday.
The NCP also wants the Marathi Development Department that the Cabinet approved last week.