"Running a coalition government is an art," NCP chief and Union minister Sharad Pawar said today, taking a jibe at Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan after he spoke of advantages of a single party rule.
"Some people are saying that it is difficult to run an alliance government," Pawar said, in an apparent reference to Chavan's remarks which appeared to suggest difficulties in managing a coalition government. Congress and NCP are sharing power in the state since 1999.
In a tacit admission of the unease in Congress' alliance with NCP, Chavan on Friday said that taking decisions is a much easier process when a single party is in power.
"There is an important difference in the political situation that existed during Yashwantrao Chavan's tenure as chief minister and the one which exists today. Then, there was a single party rule, and once there was a consensus within the party, there were no problems in taking decisions and implementing manifestos.
"However, today there are many parties in the state legislature and in Lok Sabha. There are difficulties in taking decisions, especially unpopular decisions," he had said.
Stating that there was no alternative to alliance governments in the present era, Pawar said, "today, there are coalition governments in 78% countries in the world".
Pawar cited the example of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying "with Singh at the helm, there have never been differences among us".
"I agree that there was a difference of opinion on issues like sugar and cotton export but these were resolved in a matter of half an hour after Singh called a meeting and responded positively to our suggestions," he said.
Expressing confidence that the Land Acquisition Bill, now with Parliament's standing committee, will be passed soon, Pawar said he apprehended that the "wheel of progress" may come to a standstill owing to provisions in the legislation.
"The bill provides for paying five times the market value of the land. Projects like big dams will be difficult once the bill is passed," he said.