Cong-NCP talks: Who will blink first? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Cong-NCP talks: Who will blink first?

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are yet to agree on a solution to resolve disputes regarding the distribution of ministerial berths and exchange of important portfolios.

mumbai Updated: Oct 29, 2009 02:04 IST
HT Correspondent

It is a case of who blinks first.

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are yet to agree on a solution to resolve disputes regarding the distribution of ministerial berths and exchange of important portfolios.

Talks between the allies were held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The Congress wants a bigger and better share in the state Cabinet because it won more seats than the NCP in October 13 Assembly polls. The NCP, however, has refused to part with key portfolios like home and finance and said that the allies should share power equally.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan will be able to stake his claim to form the government only when the NCP gives him a letter of support. The Congress will have to invite other secular parties and independents to participate in the government if the NCP does not join in.

Senior NCP leader P. A. Sangma said, “The matter will be resolved by Thursday.”

The NCP has insisted on the 1999 formula, which will distribute the 42 Cabinet berths equally between the allies. This does not include the chief minister’s post that has already gone to the Congress.

The Congress wants at least two berths more than the NCP with some important departments. It also wants the Assembly Speaker’s post.

Talks were on until Wednesday night. Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who is negotiating with the Congress on NCP’s behalf, did not answer phone calls.

Several Congress leaders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said their party would not compromise this time.

“We buckled under pressure (from the NCP) for past 10 years but now it is time we showed we are not spineless,” one of them said.

Sena's Sanjay Raut meets Pawar

A 30-minute meeting between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut has created a flutter in political circles.

Raut called on Pawar at the latter’s official residence in New Delhi on Wednesday even as talks for power sharing between Congress and NCP were stuck.

“I had gone to meet Pawar to talk about drought in Maharashtra and the public distribution system which is in bad shape,” Raut said when asked what transpired in the meeting.