PM willing to talk to NCP ‘on any issue’ (Lead)

July 25th, 2012 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Signalling a thaw in the current stand-off with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the government was ready to talk to its ally “on any issue” and there was “give and take” in coalition politics.

“We are ready to speak to NCP on any issue that concerns them… in coalition politics, there is give and take,” Manmohan Singh told NDTV news channel here.

He also said the creation of a coordination committee, as requested by NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, was being discussed.

NCP leader and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel also appeared conciliatory.

He said there was no ultimatum to the Congress and his party only wanted “better coordination” in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

“There is no ultimatum… We only want better coordination… A dialogue can solve these issues,” Patel told reporters.

According to Patel, the NCP, which runs a coalition government with the Congress in Maharashtra, is not gunning for the removal of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

“Who would be Maharashtra chief minister is not an issue… that has been decided and it is for the Congress to decide,” Patel said.

The NCP Monday put on hold a final decision on its continuation in the UPA government after it had expressed unhappiness over “some aspects of working” of coalition governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra. The party said it wanted more consultations with its leaders in Maharashtra before a final decision on continuation in the UPA government.

A NCP leader had told IANS Tuesday that a solution could be found to its current impasse with the Congress and coordination committee could be set up.

The NCP ministers had last week conveyed their unhappiness with “some aspects of working” of the coalition government to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The NCP’s grouse is that it was “not consulted” on key policy decisions.

The simmering differences between the two parties came out in the open after the presidential poll last week with Pawar sending a communication to the prime minister conveying his party’s unhappiness. The NCP had threatened to pull out of government and provide it only outside support.

Sources said Pawar told the prime minister and Congress president, whom he met in quick succession Thursday night and Friday morning, that the NCP would like to keep out of the government and focus on its growth for the 2014 general elections.

The NCP, sources said, wants to be consulted in key political appointments and the ruling coalition not to be run “as a single-party government”.

While mulling its options to come out of government, the NCP has all along maintained that it will continue to be part of the UPA.

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