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I have NOT quit UPA govt: Sharad Pawar

By Onkar Singh
Last updated on: July 20, 2012 10:43 IST
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The NCP on Friday sought to push the Congress leadership into a corner with its two senior leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel believed to have resigned from the Union cabinet aggrieved over a variety of issues including no 2 slot for Pawar and Congress' treatment of its allies.

Pawar, however, expressed surprise over reports of his resignation and flatly denied them.

The Sulking NCP leader met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday.

Pawar drove down to 10 Janpath apparently to discuss various issues including Congress' treatment of its allies.

Gandhi's meeting with Pawar comes ahead of the Congress Core Group meeting this evening which is expected to take stock of the situation.

The agriculture minister who sat in the No 2 seat in the first Cabinet meeting after Mukherjee's resignation but in the next meeting the seat was taken by defence minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony.

This was interpreted as Congress' way of sending a message that Antony was the virtual No.2 in the government.

To add to NCP's anger, Pawar's name had appeared in the No 2 position in the list of Cabinet ministers on the Prime Minister's website but the list itself was removed from the official websites of the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat.

Pawar, a senior leader, had been a Maharashtra chief minister thrice, was defence minister in the PV Narasimha Rao cabinet and was once even considered in the race for Prime Ministership.

NCP is also said to be miffed over Congress' attitude of not consulting them on issues in UPA.

The party is also apparently unhappy that Pawar has not been made a member of the high-powered CCS which includes only Congress representatives and was worried that it may passed over on the choice of the Leader of the House that will arise when Lok Sabha meets for its monsoon session next month.

With Agency inputs

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