NCP to decide on alliance with UPA
New Delhi: The central leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar will meet on Monday to decide the future course of action on continuing its alliance with the Congress and its support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The NCP leadership is reportedly upset with the Congress party’s `unilateral` approach in `decision making`.
The NCP has complained to the UPA leadership that certain key decisions by the government were communicated to them after they were taken by a few Congress leaders.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister last week, Pawar warned that his party may choose to opt out of the UPA government at the Centre and provide external support.
It was also reported last week that both Pawar and his deputy Praful Patel had sent their resignations to Prime Minister, which was not accepted.
Later, the NCP chief met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to express his concerns about the Congress party’s unilateral functioning.
Addressing a press conference later Pawar’s trusted lieutenant and cabinet colleague Praful Patel said, “The UPA government is entering its last phase before the next general elections and NCP along with UPA should gear up for 2014. For that government should be more decisive, more committed to the issues which are before the people of the country.”
“NCP has been a very responsible allay for the last 8 years and has been pillar of strength both inside and outside in functioning of UPA government,” he added.
Patel however refused to confirm whether NCP will continue to be part of the Congress-led UPA government at the centre, hinting that a decision in this regard will be taken during a meeting of the party high command on Monday.
Sources in the government, however, say that friction between the allies in Maharashtra could well be the reason behind the tension in Delhi.
Sources claim that NCP is upset with the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and want him replaced.
Sources say Chavan may have upset NCP leaders including Pawar`s nephew, Ajit Pawar, by asking for a white paper to explain the accounts spent on irrigation. Ajit Pawar was Irrigation Minister from 2000 to 2009. The portfolio is now held by the NCP`s Sunil Tatkare. The chief minister wants accounts for the last 10 years to be examined.
The NCP wants Ajit Pawar`s term exempted and has suggested the inquiry to look at the last three years. The allegation is that despite over Rs. 70,000 crore being spent on dams, only 0.1% of land was added to the area under irrigation.
Maharashtra`s Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar of the NCP, made a counter- attack on Chavan, saying the Urban Development Department, which is under the CM, had under-utilised funds allocated to it.
Amid widening gaps between Ajit Pawar and Chavan, there is a feeling that the NCP`s ministers are being targeted in Maharashtra.
NCP chief is also learnt to have given a communication detailing his party`s observations on the UPA government. Sources in the NCP said the communication was keeping in view of the next General Elections.
The UPA managers are working overtime to resolve the crisis that has erupted after the Sharad Pawar-led NCP decided to abstain from the Cabinet meeting last Thursday.
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