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No problem over portfolios: Congress

May 21, 2004 11:06 IST

Party spokesman Kapil Sibal on Friday sought to dispel any fears of a rift between the coalition partners over Cabinet formation.

It is understood that Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav has demanded the home ministry in exchange for joining the coalition government.

Other allies have similar demands, notably the Nationalist Congress Party, which has reportedly demanded the defence portfolio for its chief Sharad Pawar.

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"Laloo is a good man and he is head of a strong party. Differences of opinion are part of the family," Sibal said.

"Our roads are meant to travel at 40-50kmph and are we are moving at that speed only. You will have an answer by Saturday. We will provide a strong and stable government, which will last its full five-year term," he said.

His party colleague Kamalnath also exuded confidence that all 'differences' will be sorted out. "We are in discussion with allies," he told reporters after meeting Singh in Delhi.

Kamalnath, who himself is tipped to get a Cabinet berth, played down Yadav's threat of not joining the government if he is not given the home portfolio.

"Partners can have different views in a coalition. It does not indicate any bitterness. We will carry our allies along," he said hoping the differences will be sorted out soon.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram and Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh T Subramani Reddy also met Manmohan Singh on Friday morning.

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