Congress steps up efforts for Govt formation

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi
May 21, 2004 04:15 PM IST

Racing against time ahead of Saturday's swearing-in, Congress stepped up efforts for Govt formation by holding talks with allies.

Racing against time ahead of Saturday's swearing-in of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister, Congress on Friday stepped up efforts for Government formation by holding talks with DMK and PMK, but faced a roadblock with key allies RJD and NCP remaining non-committal on joining the Government.

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RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav, 'hurt' by reports that he was hankering for Deputy Prime Ministership and Home portfolio, held parleys with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and declared that they would move jointly on their participation in the Government.

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Emerging from an hour-long meeting at Pawar's residence both the leaders said they would be having discussions with Congress leaders later in the day.

The two leaders, however, made it clear that their support was there for the Congress-led coalition with Yadav saying it would complete its full term.

Both RJD and NCP have a combined strength of 30 in the Lok Sabha.

Asked if any discussion had taken place with the Congress on Government formation, the RJD leader said, "there has been neither any proposal nor have they (Congress) approached me" for talks.

He asserted that his was the second largest party in the coalition and "I am not a beggar".

Pawar dismissed as baseless reports that Yadav was angling for any key ministry and said what the RJD chief wanted was a package for Bihar, which has faced severe difficulties following the division of the state.

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