In an apparent damage control measure, NCP today said that it would very much be part of the Maharashtra government, a couple of hours after state Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal announced that it was ready to extend outside support to the Congress. NCP General Secretary and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that there are no two opinions on whether or not NCP wants to be part of the government. He said that definitely, NCP will be part of the government and informal talks are going on. Praful Patel said the discussions on government formation in Maharashtra were on between the state leaders of the two parties. A final decision would be reached at after high-level talks between leaders of the two allies. He however maintained that his party was ready to give a letter extending support to the Congress to form the government “if it is the only issue holding up government formation”. He said the NCP had proposed continuance of the 1999 power sharing arrangement between the two parties under which Chief Minister was from Congress, while NCP leader held the post of Deputy Chief Minister in addition to key portfolios like Home, Finance, Power and PWD. Congress is keen on changing the power sharing pact and is pressing for some major portfolios. However, Patel said the differences between the two parties were “not irreconcilable” and outstanding issues would be resolved through “high-level talks.” Asked whether NCP Chief Sharad Pawar would meet Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi to sort out the vexed issue, Praful Patel said he did not feel there was a need for top leaders to get into this. Bureau report – NMTV News.
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