New Delhi: Although the Congress is keen to keep Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in good humour, the Maratha leader appears all set to quit the UPA and offer external support to the government.
Pawar has reportedly floated the idea in the party amid growing discomfort between the alliance partners. The party top brass is currently meeting to take a decision.
Pawar is angry at not being anointed number two in the Cabinet after the exit of Pranab Mukherjee, reports claimed.
However, more can be read into the NCP turning rebel at this crucial juncture when the UPA government is battling to dismiss fears of policy paralysis.
Reports of NCP’s imminent exit from the UPA gained strength in view of Pawar’s decision to skip a farewell dinner being hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today evening, this despite the NCP chief and all MPs deciding to attend President Pratibha Patil's farewell speech function today evening.
Reports meanwhile said the PM has spoken to Pawar on phone in a bid to dissuade NCP leaders from quitting Cabinet.
Giving credence to reports that all is not well in the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar has also asked the state unit of the party to consider the option of exiting the state government under Prithiviraj Chavan and offer external support, as being proposed at the Centre.
Meanwhile, Agatha Sangma, who is the third NCP minister in Union Cabinet besides Pawar and Praful Patel, has offered to quit the Cabinet post.
Her decision came amid reports that she has been asked by the party to stop attending office. Pawar and Patel are already not attending office.
First Published: Monday, July 23, 2012, 14:58