NCP-BJP collaboration talk not going according to plan

Mumbai: Even as majority of NCP leaders are saying in media that their party was not joining hands with the ruling NDA, political circles in Maharashtra are abuzz with the news of top BJP and NCP leaders holding backdoor talks, but without desired results.

Sources in the NCP told Pardaphash condition of anonymity that Supriya Sule, Lok Sabha MP and daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, strongly objected to the party joining hands with the BJP.

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Yesterday, she told mediapersons in Pandharpur that the NCP has pretty much no intention of joining the NDA, and only the Congress is ready to throw in its lot with the NDA.

Throughout yesterday, there was quite a buzz doing the rounds that the NCP was negotiating for Union Cabinet berths. According to sources, Sharad Pawar would also be a minister in the Union Cabinet. With Sule publicly denying any such possibility, former Union Minister and Sharad Pawar’s trusted aide, Praful Patel, tweeted, “There is no basis for speculation that NCP is joining government in Delhi.” State BJP chief Raosaheb Danave said, “As of now, there is no such proposal before the party.”

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Sources in the BJP and NCP, however, confirmed interactions between leaders of both the parties did take place. A meeting with senior NCP leaders was to be held in New Delhi yesterday, which was cancelled at the last moment after realising the deal for ministerial berths was not moving forward, and Sule was firm in her opposition to the plan. “One of the hurdles was NCP’s demands of key posts in the State cabinet. The BJP is not ready to part with lucrative positions,” a senior NCP leader said.

The significant factor in the whole issue is that senior NCP functionaries face the threat of being investigated for corruption. Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Irrigation Minister Sunil Tatkare face inquiries in the alleged irrigation scam.

The CBI is investigating alleged irregularities in the buying or hiring of 111 aircraft for national carriers that had cost around 70,000 crore to Air India when Patel was Civil Aviation Minister.

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