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|October 16, 1999||
Congress, NCP agree to form government
After a ten-day deadlock, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party today finally decided to form the next government in Maharashtra with the support of secular allies.
Announcing this at an overcrowded press conference this evening, NCP state president Chhagan Bhujbal, leader of the Opposition in the legislative council, said the constituents of the proposed government are the Congress, the NCP, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Peasants and Workers' Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bhartiya Bahujan Mahasangh, Republican Party of India and others.
The name for the new front will be announced soon, he added. But it will not be known as a "yuti sircar" [Marathi for alliance government, the term used for the earlier Shiv Sena-BJP government], he quipped, because the phrase' has become a term of abuse over the last five years.
The aim of the proposed front is to provide a stable, secular and socially oriented government in Maharashtra, Bhujbal said, exuding confidence that the NCP-Congress and allies would be able to secure a majority.
Later in the evening, a Congress delegation led by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Pratap Bhosale met Governor Dr P C Alexander and submitted the list of MLAs who would be part of the proposed government.
He said several of the pending issues had been resolved amicably through extensive discussions between the Congress and the NCP.
The talks were on the verge of failure when the NCP made its demand for the post of speaker a 'prestige' issue. Similarly, there were differences over the allocation of portfolios and appointment of the chairmen of various boards, corporations and commissions.
The NCP held a meeting of its MLAs in the morning and it was decided that they would not compromise on the speaker's post. But Bhujbal said the matter would be resolved through consensus.
When asked about the distribution of portfolios, he said, "All our differences have been sorted out and the NCP has full confidence that the governor will invite the Congress-NCP and allies to form the next government. The NCP will co-operate with the Congress in forming the next government. We are also ready to meet the governor for a head count."
Bhujbal said representation in the ministry, allocation of portfolios and all other issues between the Congress and the NCP had been discussed thoroughly and a positive decision had been arrived at.
He claimed that the proposed front would have the support of more than 152 MLAs in the 288-member lower house of the state legislature. "There are many independents supporting us," he added.
To a question as to who finally gave in, Bhujbal replied, "Na koi hara na koi jeeta (nobody lost, nobody won)."
He said the leader of the Nationalist Congress Legislature Party would be announced tonight.
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