Upping the ante, sulking NCP today warned the Congress that if its demands like coordination committee for UPA coalition and better treatment of allies were not resolved by Wednesday it would pull out from the government.
The party led by Mr Sharad Pawar has also indicated that any pull out in Delhi could have a cascading effect on the coalition in Maharashtra as the state leaders favour exiting the Congress-led ministry. The NCP has been in coalition with the Congress in Maharashtra government for the last 13 years.
An NCP leader, who declined to be identified, said that non-Congress constituents in the UPA have been sympathetic to the demands raised by it and the party was also in touch with the supporting parties of the UPA coalition.
He also said that Congress has held no backchannel talks so far with it on the issues raised by Mr Pawar in his letter to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the UPA Chairperson Ms Sonia Gandhi.
“We are a responsible party and it would not behove the stature of a leader like Pawar to be absent at two successive Cabinet meetings,” he said, suggesting that Mr Pawar would rather like to end the suspense on his resignation.
“Therefore our deadline ends tomorrow”, he said ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Cabinet.
Mr Pawar and his party colleague Mr Praful Patel had kept away from the Cabinet meeting last week expressing their desire to quit for building their party.
Mr Patel has strongly refuted speculation that the NCP was putting on Congress with an eye for No 2 slot for Mr Pawar in the Cabinet.
“The issues raised by the NCP were for better coordination and all the other UPA constituents were “sympathetic”, the leader claimed.