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|October 13, 1999||
NCP does a volte-face in Maharashtra
The Nationalist Congress Party-Congress deadlock over the formation of government in Maharashtra continued today with the NCP doing a volte-face on its offer yesterday to leave the chief minister's post open to the Congress.
Speaking to reporters today, the NCP spokesperson Vasant Chavan said: "The Congress must realise that the participation of our allies is vital for the successful formation of a government. And our allies, who together have 13 MLAs, want our chief minister," said Chavan.
Only yesterday the NCP had shown willingness to give up its claim on the chief minister's post in exchange of a package deal. The package deal would have included distribution of key portfolios and representation on state corporations.
Chavan today said his party was dissatisfied with the way the Congress was reacting to the evolving political situation in the state. "We are ready to hold negotiations, but there has been no word from them. Due to this there has been an unnecessary delay in the formation of a new government."
He said if the Congress wanted a secular government in the state, they would have to speed up things. ''They should know that without our help they cannot form the government...they need to take some decision fast."
The Congress and the NCP together have a strength of 135 MLAs in a house of 288 members, which 10 short of the magical mark of 145.
Chavan today reiterated that there was no question of his party joining hands with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine.
He also said that the NCP was not opposed to the election of Vilasrao Deshmukh as the Congress legilature party leader and that the party considered that to be an internal matter of the party.
Deshmukh is an arch rival of Sharad Pawar. He rejoined the Congress only recently after Pawar was expelled.
Meanwhile, the Sena-BJP combine has still not approached the governor with a formal request to form the government.
No political activity was reported on their side today as Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde was in New Delhi for the swearing in ceremony along with senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi.
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