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Govt. formation in Maha delayed
Published on 4 Nov. 2009 1:38 AM IST
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Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir’s efforts to resolve the deadlock in government formation failed Tuesday, with both constituents of the ruling front -- Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) -- sticking to their positions on power-sharing. NCP leader and deputy-chief minister designate Chhagan Bhujbal reiterated his party’s stance and accused the Congress of adopting “delaying tactics” in forming the new government. “Congress is delaying the government formation, not the NCP,” Bhujbal told reporters after meeting the governor at the Raj Bhawan here. He said that if the Congress does not agree to the power-sharing formula decided in 1999, then the NCP would offer “outside support” instead of joining the ministry. “I informed the governor that our letter of support is ready, it is up to the Congress to take the initiative in forming the government,” said Bhujbal. Earlier, the governor also met chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan for half-an-hour in an effort to break the impasse that continues 13 days after the assembly results were declared. Wednesday is the last day the outgoing assembly’s tenure. In a surprise development Tuesday, the governor had summoned both the Chavan and Bhujbal to Raj Bhavan to sort out the issue. While Chavan met Jamir around 11 a.m., Bhujbal called on him around 11.30 a.m. The two parties - Congress with 82 seats and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 62 seats in the 288-member assembly - are locked in a bitter squabble over the sharing of portfolios in the new government. Both the parties have adopted an uncompromising stand on the issue of certain key portfolios like home, finance, power, agriculture, urban development and public works ministries. Last week, NCP leader Ajit Pawar had said that in the 2004 elections, even though NCP had 71 seats compared to 59 of Congress, it agreed to accept the post of deputy chief minister and give the chief minister’s post to the atter. “At that time, to keep the CM’s (chief minister) post, the Congress offered us (NCP) four extra ministries and three departments,” he pointed out. Sensing a kill, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena combine have given an ultimatum for the government formation by Tuesday, failing which they would demand imposition of President’s Rule in the state. NCP will be part of new govt: Patel In an apparent damage control measure, NCP today said that it would very much be part of the Maharashtra government, a couple of hours after state Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced that it was ready to extend outside support to the Congress. “There are no two opinions on whether or not NCP wants to be part of the government. Definitely, we will be part of the government and informal talks are going on,” NCP General Secretary and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters here. He said the discussions on government formation in Maharashtra were on between the state leaders of the two parties. “A final decision would be reached at after high-level talks between leaders of the two allies.” Patel maintained that his party was ready to give a letter extending support to the Congress to form the government “if it is the only issue holding up government formation”. He said the NCP had proposed continuance of the 1999 power sharing arrangement between the two parties under which Chief Minister was from Congress, while NCP leader held the post of Deputy Chief Minister in addition to key portfolios like Home, Finance, Power and PWD. Congress is keen on changing the power sharing pact and is pressing for some major portfolios. However, Patel said the differences between the two parties were “not irreconciliable” and outstanding issues would be resolved through “high-level talks.

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