New Delhi: In a bid to resolve the stand-off between the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday reached out to the Maratha leader Sharad Pawar and hailed him as a very valued colleague.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Singh said, “Mr Sharad Pawar is a very valued colleague of mine whose knowledge, wisdom and experience are a great asset to our government. His party NCP is an important ally of the ruling UPA coalition led by Congress.”
Prime Minister’s remarks came hours after the NCP chief met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on issues related to the UPA government’s functioning.
However, the NCP leader later maintained that his party will not quit the ruling coalition despite having some issues.
Addressing a press conference later, Pawar’s trusted lieutenant and cabinet colleague Praful Patel said, “The UPA government is entering its last phase before the next General Elections and NCP along with UPA should gear up for 2014. For that government should be more decisive, more committed to the issues which are before the people of the country.”
“…Certainly with the presence of Pawar, a leader of tall stature, the UPA under the able leadership of PM will be able to solve the issues,” Patel said addressing the media after a meeting of the NCP top brass.
“NCP has been a very responsible allay for the last 8 years and has been pillars of strength both inside and outside in functioning of UPA government,” he added.
Patel revealed that his party chief had met Prime Minister Manohan Singh, yesterday; after he sent a communication detailing the issues the NCP wants the government to resolve.
Dismissing suggestions that NCP is resorting to pressure tactics, Patel said that his party has been discussing the matter for quite some time now and had waited for the Presidential elections to end before taking up the issue.
“We would like to state very emphatically that the communication sent to Prime Minister was discussed in our party more than a month ago, but considering the Presidential elections, we chose to send our communication only after voting ended at 5 pm yesterday,” he said, while also stressing, “NCP continues to be a integral part of UPA.”