Upping the ante, sulking Nationalist Congress Party on Tuesday warned the Congress that if its demands like a coordination committee for the United Progressive Alliance coalition and better treatment of allies were not resolved by Wednesday, it would pull out from the government.
The party led by Sharad Pawar has also indicated that any pull out in Delhi could have a cascading effect on the coalition in Maharashtra as the state leaders favour exiting the Congress-led ministry. The NCP has been in coalition with the Congress in the Maharashtra government for the last 13 years.
An NCP leader, who declined to be identified, said that non-Congress constituents in the UPA have been sympathetic to the demands raised by it and the party was also in touch with the supporting parties of the UPA coalition.
He also said that Congress has held no backchannel talks so far with it on the issues raised by Pawar in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
"We are a responsible party and it would not fit the stature of a leader like Pawar to be absent at two successive Cabinet meetings," he said, suggesting that Pawar would rather like to end the suspense on his resignation.
"Therefore our deadline ends tomorrow," he said ahead of Thursday's meeting of the Cabinet.
Pawar and his party colleague Praful Patel had kept away from the Cabinet meeting last week, expressing their desire to quit for building their party.
Patel has strongly refuted speculation that the NCP was putting pressure on Congress as it wants the No 2 slot for Pawar in the Cabinet.
"The issues raised by the NCP were for better coordination and all other UPA constituents are sympathetic," the leader claimed.