Posted On Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 08:34:26 AM
|Sharad Pawar met Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath, New Delhi on Friday morning
It was supposed to be an informal breakfast but the hour-long meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath on Friday morning, failed to yield any tangible solution to the NCP-Congress stand off.
NCP sources said the Congress president spent the entire time discussing generalities instead of discussing specific issues. “We expected Soniaji to go into the specifics of our grievances like the mechanism of setting up a UPA coordination committee. But she kept showering encomiums on Pawar.
How important he was to the UPA. So we had to announce that we will give the Government more time to mull over a concrete solution to the problem,” said a senior NCP leader.
Gandhi apparently did not say anything about including Pawar in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) or giving a meatier portfolio to Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel.
NCP sources said the party is extremely keen on Patel getting a meatier portfolio. The NCP is eyeing the Telecom, Commerce or Textile Ministry for Patel in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. Sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had disarmed Pawar with his gesture on Thursday itself.
Dr Singh made a quick call to Pawar after receiving a letter from the Maharashtra strongman. In his letter, Pawar had pointed out that there were lot of problems in the functioning of the Government coordination, decision-making and executing decisions.
Admitting that with nine MPs, the NCP was a small party, Pawar suggested that both Patel and he wished to go out of the Government as they wanted to prepare for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
On Friday, the PM issued a statement praising Pawar. He said “Sharad Pawar is a very valued colleague of mine whose knowledge, wisdom and experience are a great asset to our government.” Such overtures from the PM have however have left the NCP cold.
NCP sources said not everyone in the party keen to prolong the stand off. In fact, Patel was not keen to take on the Congress but was forced to. Briefing the media, Patel said the NCP had “serious issues” over the functioning of the government and the coalition.
Asked if he and Pawar had tendered their resignations, Patel said, “We have not given any formal resignation... the issue is not resignation- ...till it is not accepted...we have sent acommunication.” Without disclosing the specific aspects of discord, he said, “Our issues are: functioning of the Government, functioning of UPA and functioning of the larger coalition.”
Patel also clarified that the speculation of he and Pawar skipping the Cabinet meeting and Pawar not being offered the number 2 status, happened due to the wrong briefing given by certain Congress leaders to the media.