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Congress rejects conflicts with NCP over portfolio sharing in Maharashtra

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 27, 2009 21:09 IST
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The Congress on Tuesday sought to downplay the tough stand adopted by the Nationalist Congress Party in the distribution of key portfolios in Maharashtra, saying there was no problem with its alliance partner.

"Leaders of both the parties are aware of the ground reality. I do not think any problem would crop up regarding ministry formation when they sit together to finalise the issue. Both parties had earlier also formed governments," said party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed.

He was responding to queries on the NCP's stand that it would not be a part of the new government in the state if the Congress did not follow the 1999 formula of allocation of the key home, finance and power portfolios.

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said in Mumbai, "We feel that the portfolios should be shared as per the arrangement between the two parties in 1999... if the Congress is not ready for the 1999 formula, the NCP will not be a part of the new government."

The NCP has sought 21 portfolios for itself and for independents supporting it.

In the last coalition government in Maharashtra, the chief minister was from the Congress despite the NCP getting more seats.

The Sharad Pawar-led party had in return got not only more ministries, but also the key ones.

Sources in the NCP said the party was ready to give the Congress the labour, forests and environment ministries, while it wants to keep the home ministry, the public works department and finance ministries with itself.

The Congress, which won 82 seats as compared to NCP's 62 this time, is, however, pressing for portfolio sharing "as per the changed realities" in Maharashtra, they said.

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