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Congress-NCP stand-off ends

July 25, 2012 21:24 IST

The stand-off between Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party came to an end on Wednesday with the decision to set up a Coordination Committee to address the grievance of the United Progressive Alliance ally from Maharashtra about not having a proper say in the functioning of the government.

The differences, that made NCP to threaten pull out of the government, were resolved at a meeting the party's chief Sharad Pawar had with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday evening.

Pawar, agriculture minister who was accompanied by senior party colleague and Union Minister Praful Patel, raised the issues of lack of coordination within the UPA and non-involvement of allies in decision-making.

After the over hour-long meeting, Patel said there was emphasis on good coordination in the UPA government in Delhi and in Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra so that a "positive face" of the coalition is shown to the people.

"Whatever (controversies) happened during last few days has come to an end," Patel told reporters.

A statement issued after the meeting said an effective coordination mechanism would be set up under which allies would meet once a month to decide on policy and other issues.

A Coordination Committee would be set up in Delhi which will be headed by Gandhi, Patel said.

A similar committee would be set up in Maharashtra, where the two parties have a coalition government, and it will include Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and representatives from the central leadership of the two parties, he said.

Addressing a press conference, Patel said the solution to the crisis was discussed within the NCP and leaders felt it was to their satisfaction.

"This puts a full stop to whatever happened in last few days," Patel said.

He said he and Pawar would return to their offices and that there were "fully active in the government".

"Sharad Pawar and I are fully active in government and will continue to do so. There is no reason to doubt this," he said in reply to a question.

Patel said there was emphasis on good coordination in the UPA government in Delhi and in Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra so that a "positive face" of the coalition is shown to the people.

A similar committee would be set up in Maharashtra, where the two parties have a coalition government, and it will include Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief

Minister Ajit Pawar and representatives from the central leadership of the two parties, he said.

He said NCP would continue to be part of UPA till 2014.

Patel had dismissed speculation that the stand-off was over Pawar being denied the No 2 position in the government or the purported denial of defence ministry for him and that Supriya Sule was not being made a minister.

He also denied that the NCP was demanding a change of leadership in Maharashtra, where there have been complaints over the functioning of the Chief Minister.

Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi made an identical statement at the AICC headquarters on the coordination mechanism being planned in the UPA.

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