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NDA can have NCP sans Bhujbal: Bal Thackeray

January 01, 2004 21:45 IST
Last Updated: January 01, 2004 21:48 IST

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Thursday said he was not averse to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party joining the National Democratic Alliance.

However, he was firm that the proposed move would not have any place for his bete noire and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

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His comments come in the background of reports that the Bharatiya Janata Party is persuading him to allow the NCP to enter the NDA.

Bhujbal left the Sena in the early nineties to join the Congress and has since then grabbed every opportunity to take potshots at Thackeray.

On December 30, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani held a closed-door meeting with Thackeray to discuss the timing of the Lok Sabha polls due in 2004. However, Sena sources said the issue of allowing the NCP into the NDA had also cropped up.

Thackeray confirmed it did but clarified that the talks on the issue remained inconclusive.

"I will have to talk to Uddhav," the Sena chief said referring to his son and executive president of the party. "I will arrive at a decision after consulting Uddhav and the Sena leaders," he added.

"Since the NCP is part of the ruling alliance, along with the Congress, in Maharashtra, we have to discuss the change in the political equations in the state in case the NCP joins the NDA," he said.

Meanwhile, former Bhujbal, who underwent an angiography tests on December 30 at Mumbai's Breach Candy hospital, was discharged on January 1.

Bhujbal had been hospitalised for exhaustion and stress. He is doing fine but has been advised to reduce his weight and avoid stress, cardiologist Dr Ashwin Mehta who attended on him said. The NCP leader had been hospitalised on December 25 following complaints of exhaustion and high blood pressure.

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