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Cabinet berth for NC unlikely
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
With the race for cabinet berths getting tighter and the list of claimants refusing to shrink, it appears that the National Conference (NC) might get left out altogether. While the party has not given up staking its claim on a ministry, top Congress sources indicate a possibility of a no-go for the NC in the new cabinet.

The Congress feels it has done more than enough for the party in Jammu and Kashmir by not insisting on a three-year power sharing formula, which it had with the PDP in the past.

But that logic does not seem to have gone down too well with the NC, which had hoped for a greater role for its president Farooq Abdullah at the Centre. With his non-inclusion in yesterday’s list of cabinet ministers made certain last morning, a miffed Farooq flew off to South Africa to watch IPL matches. He is said to have spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before leaving.

Back in the capital, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah downplayed NC’s annoyance with the Congress and said the NC was not a party that would exert pulls and pressures on the UPA to get a ministry. “We are into a long-term relationship with the Congress,” he said, adding that it was for the Prime Minister to decide whom he wanted in his cabinet.

UPA sources, however, said the possibility appeared unlikely. The Congress has more pressing tasks at hand right now than thinking about the NC.

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