NCP, RJD to join new Govt

PTI | ByRajnish Sharma and Nandini R. Iyer, New Delhi
May 22, 2004 03:01 AM IST

After excruciating parleys spread over Friday, the NCP and the RJD signalled their willingness to be part of the Cong-led coalition Govt.

After excruciating parleys spread over Friday, the NCP and the RJD signalled their willingness to be part of the Congress-led coalition government.

HT Image
HT Image

The final decision by both parties came after Sharad Pawar and Laloo Yadav held talks with Congress leaders Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel.

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Making the announcement, NCP spokesman Praful Patel denied his party was obsessed with any portfolio. "This is the prerogative of PM (designate) Dr Manmohan Singh and we have left the decision to him," he said.

Asked how many NCP MPs would be inducted as ministers, Praful Patel said the issue would be thrashed out between Pawar and Manmohan Singh before the swearing-in ceremony.

Laloo's arrival from Patna on Friday had triggered hectic political activity. His first station was Pawar's Rakabganj Road bungalow. The two had detailed discussions on the question of joining the government.

Later, Pawar contacted Sonia Gandhi who, in turn, deputed Mukherjee and Patel for talks. In the final round of discussions in the evening, Sonia's emissaries stressed the need for the NCP and the RJD being on board to impart stability to the Manmohan Singh regime.

"We had promised a stable government at the Centre and our decision will help in providing one," said Praful Patel. The formal word from Laloo followed the NCP's announcement. "Ho hi jayega, ho hi jayega, abhi to raat lambi hai," he told a TV channel.

RJD sources said Laloo —- after having gone to town about a special economic package for Bihar  —- was under pressure to lay emphasis on getting funds for the state's development. While the RJD chief indicated that he had made written suggestions to the Congress in this regard, he chose to remain tight-lipped when asked for details.

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