M A I N   N E W S

NCP to be part of govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
Caught in the pulls and pressures of coalition politics, the Congress leadership ran back and forth in trying to soothe the ruffled feathers of RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav connected with the ministry formation of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

Even as the RJD supremo was seeking his pound of flesh with a flock of 21 members in the 14th Lok Sabha, Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress party decided to be a part of Prime Minister designate Manmohan Singh's coalition government.

NCP spokesperson Praful Patel made it clear that their party had left it to Mr Pawar to decide who should be included in the Union Council of Ministers. Asked if Mr Pawar was being made the convenor of the Congress-led coalition, he contended that the NCP chief is being given due importance in this government and it will there for all to see.

After senior Congress leaders Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel had a meeting with Mr Pawar, Mr Patel reiterated that the NCP has already extended unconditional support to a Congress-led arrangement at the Centre.

"Taking into consideration all aspects, we have decided to participate in the government. On the allocation of portfolios to the NCP nominees, the matter has been left to Dr Manmohan Singh," Mr Patel added.

Immediately after Mr Patel's announcement, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav's theatrics of forming a pressure group backed by the NCP within the NPA seems to have come unstuck. The Congress is keen to steer clear of having the RJD chief in the Cabinet because of the cases pending against him though he is highly insistent that the distribution of key portfolios should be even as far as the pre-poll allies are concerned. "The allies should get a fair share," the RJD chief insisted.

At the same time the Congress is willing to accommodate the RJD with a junior minister in the critical Home Ministry.

The RJD leader, however, remained firm on one thing that there is no question of going soft on the BJP as the mandate is for a secular formation at the Centre. The Congress leaders had no doubts that the problems as far as Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav is concerned will be resolved amicably. Typical of his style, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav said there was still 24 hours for the government formation and hoped that the irritants would be ironed out, facilitating his party joining the government.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |