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Home > News > Report

Sonia to meet Pawar amidst threat of NCP split

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi/PTI | January 14, 2004 20:33 IST
Last Updated: January 15, 2004 01:51 IST

With the prospects of a tie-up between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party brightening up for the coming Lok Sabha elections, Sonia Gandhi will meet Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Thursday to thrash out contentious issues.

"Gandhi had a telephonic talk with Pawar this morning and spoke to him with regard to the emerging political situation
in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance governmentcalling for early polls.

"Pawar invited Gandhi for tea to discuss the political situation and other related matters, which she accepted. The two leaders would meet on Thursday evening," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

The development comes a week after Gandhi said she would talk to the NCP leader as part of her exercise to form a secular front to defeat the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, the NCP's working committee meeting, which commenced in Delhi on Wednesday evening, is focusing on an acceptable formula to avert a split the issue of electoral alliances.

The party's Maharashtra unit wants to continue the alliance with the Congress while senior founder-leader Purno A Sangma prefers an electoral tie-up with the National Democratic Alliance in the Northeast.

An NCP MP told that Praful Patel, the party's Rajya Sabha MP, is carrying on behind-the-scene efforts to find common ground and avert the possibility of a split.

Explaining the contradictory stands within the NCP, the MP said, "In coalition politics, such things are not unusual."

He referred to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's reported statement that despite the Congress-Dravid Munnetra Kazhagham alliance in Tamil Nadu, he had nothing against DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

Similarly, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav openly declared his anathema for the Bharatiya Janata Party on ideological grounds but at the same time did not hide his admiration for Vajpayee, the NCP leader pointed out.

Even the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are opposed to each other in West Bengal and Kerala but are united against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, he said.

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