Maharashtra Congress goes into huddle over NCP's stance

The meeting was held in the morning and was attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and other senior party leaders.

The meeting's main topic was the current mood in the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which had been targeting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the centre and the Democratic Front government in the state even though the NCP is a partner in both governments.

Manikrao Thakre and some other leaders said the Congress-NCP coordination committee should discuss all the pending issues, the official said.

The coordination committee meeting could be convened soon after the assembly's monsoon session gets over later this week, the official said.

Last weekend, the NCP made it quite plain that it was "unhappy" with the Congress at the national as well as the state level.

Senior NCP leaders expressed the sentiments Saturday at a meeting at Pawar's residence, a day after the party virtually threatened to pull out of the UPA.

The NCP's grouse is that it was "not consulted" on important decisions at the central and state level and there was lack of coordination between the party and the Congress.

However, senior NCP leader Praful Patel had held out an assurance that the party would continue with the UPA as an ally, as it had done in the past eight years.

"The government has been functioning without coordination even in the state. The coordination mechanism must return for proper decision-making and discussing important issues to strengthen the government," Patel said.

He said the NCP wanted the UPA and the Democratic Front to complete their full tenure.

At its meeting in the national capital Monday after completion of the presidential poll, the NCP is expected to take some tough decisions, including on its plans to give external support to the UPA.

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