PM did not intend to offend NCP chief: Cong
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PM did not intend to offend NCP chief: Cong

As Cong downplays Pawar’s remarks, allies call for greater coordination within the ruling alliance.

delhi Updated: Mar 22, 2012 01:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Even as the Congress downplayed NCP chief Sharad Pawar's remarks expressing anguish over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on coalition politics, UPA allies on Wednesday renewed the call for strengthening the coordination to avoid any discord in the ruling alliance.

The Congress said the agriculture minister had misunderstood the statement. "The Prime Minister was very clear and specific. Pawar appears to have not understood it properly. I think there is some misunderstanding on his part, otherwise he would not have given this statement," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

Pawar had on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the PM’s statement in Lok Sabha that difficult decisions were becoming more difficult due to coalition compulsions. “There is not even a single instance where we caused any hindrance to the government. Making such a sweeping statement has caused anguish and unease for us,” Pawar said.

The Congress maintained that though all political parties do not have the same political understanding, it does not amount to dissonance among allies. Two key allies — the Trinamool Congress and the DMK — officially refused to comment on Pawar's statement, but stressed on the need for greater coordination in the UPA.

In the absence of a common minimum programme, DMK sources said differences on policy issues were bound to occur. On its part, the Trinamool said the government should consult all allies before taking decisions on key issues.

The Congress has now stepped up its engagement with the allies. To placate the southern ally, the government has decided to support the US resolution on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC. On the other hand, after replacing Dinesh Trivedi with Mukul Roy, the Congress took another step to seek reconciliation with its maverick ally, Mamata Banerjee. The party withdrew its candidate, Abdul Mannan, from Rajya Sabha polls in West Bengal despite stiff resistance from the state unit.

To ensure greater coordination with its allies in Parliament, the government has given its floor management new shape. The UPA constituents will, henceforth, meet thrice a week to work out a floor strategy on various issues.

First Published: Mar 21, 2012 23:02 IST