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NCP turns down MoS post, awaits cabinet berth

Last updated on: June 09, 2024 19:53 IST

The Nationalist Congress Party on Sunday turned down the Bharatiya Janata Party's offer to accommodate Praful Patel as a minister of state with independent charge in the new National Democratic Alliance government and said it was assured that 'remedial measures' would be taken.

IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel addresses a press conference in Mumbai. Photograph: ANI Photo

Patel, the working president of Bharatiya Janata Party ally NCP, argued that since he had already served as a cabinet minister in the Union government, assuming office as a minister of state with independent charge would be a 'demotion' for him.

"We have conveyed this to the BJP leadership and have been asked to wait for some days till it takes remedial measures," Patel told reporters in New Delhi on a day when Narendra Modi was sworn-in as prime minister for the third time.


As per the power-sharing arrangements, the NCP was offered one post in the Council of Ministers of the NDA government led by Modi.

BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Vinod Tawde called on Patel, who was reportedly upset at the 'demotion' in the Union government.

The NCP has two members in the Parliament -- Patel in the Rajya Sabha and Sunil Tatkare in the Lok Sabha.

The NCP is likely to increase its tally in the Rajya Sabha by two in the next few months.

Fadnavis said the BJP had decided on a criterion for handing out ministerial berths to coalition partners on the basis of their strengths in the Parliament.

"We had offered one berth of minister with independent charge to the NCP but it was insistent that (Rajya Sabha MP) Praful Patel's name be finalised. Due to his (Patel's) experience, the NCP believed he could not be made MoS with independent charge," he said.

"In a coalition government, a formula has to be drawn, which cannot be broken for one party. I can confidently say whenever cabinet expansion takes place, the (Union) government will consider the NCP. We did try to include NCP right now, but they insisted on cabinet portfolio," the senior BJP leader asserted.

NCP president Ajit Pawar said he supported the NDA and was seen at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Ajit Pawar asserted the NCP 'was ready to wait' but wanted a cabinet berth.

"We have one Lok Sabha member (Sunil Tatkare) and one Rajya Sabha MP (Praful Patel). In the coming months, we will have two additional Rajya Sabha MPs. We will have four MPs (then). We should (then) get a cabinet berth. We are ready to wait but want a cabinet berth," Pawar said.

While Patel said there is no 'problem in the alliance' on this issue, party chief Ajit Pawar asserted the NCP was supporting the NDA in the interest of the nation.

The Ajit Pawar-led NCP, part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra along with the BJP and the Shiv Sena, performed poorly in the Lok Sabha polls, managing to win just one seat (Raigad) from the four it contested. It also lost the prestige battle in Baramati, where Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra Pawar was trounced by sitting NCP-SP MP Supriya Sule.

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