New Delhi: Apparently wanting to play a wait-and-watch game, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday said that the party remains an integral part of the UPA despite having ‘issues’ with the way government is functioning.
NCP supremo Sharad 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.”
“…Certainly with the presence of Pawar, a leader of tall stature, the UPA under the able leadership of PM will be able to solve the issues,” Patel said addressing the media after a meeting of the NCP top brass.
“NCP has been a very responsible allay for the last 8 years and has been pillars of strength both inside and outside in functioning of UPA government,” he added.
Patel revealed that his party chief had met Prime Minister Manohan Singh, yesterday; after he sent a communication detailing the issues the NCP wants the government to resolve.
“Mr Pawar sent a communication to the Prime Minister, yesterday, raising some issues. There has been too much speculation about the type of communication. I am pained that there is a section of people in the Congress that has been fuelling speculation and briefing the media. Unreasonable and unnecessary comments are being made to the media, this is not the way - creating unnecessary wedge between two old and reliable alliance partners,” Patel said.
“Prime Minister met Mr Pawar last night itself. This morning Congress president Sonia Gandhi invited him for a chat. The same issues were discussed,” he added detailing the sequence of events.
Dismissing suggestions that NCP is resorting to pressure tactics, Patel said that his party has been discussing the matter for quite some time now and had waited for the Presidential elections to end before taking up the issue.
“We would like to state very emphatically that the communication sent to Prime Minister was discussed in our party more than a month ago, but considering the Presidential elections, we chose to send our communication only after voting ended at 5 pm yesterday,” he said, while also stressing, “NCP continues to be a integral part of UPA.”
No 2 in cabinet not an issue
On speculation that Sharad Pawar is for not being anointed number two in the cabinet after the exit of Pranab Mukherjee, Patel said, “The issue has been blown out of proportion. He was given a position next to Pranab Mukherjee in Cabinet meetings on virtue of his stature; in Parliament he sits next to Sonia…Pawar is not a petty leader to raise such an issue himself.”
However, the issue seems to be far from over as the NCP leadership is going to meet on Monday to decide the next course of action.