Seat sharing issue with Congress will be resolved in next 10 days and the ongoing talks are “cordial”, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said amid signs of strain in ties between the two parties which are out to drive a hard bargain for Lok Sabha polls.
The remarks from Pawar, who is the NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister, came close on the heels of party leader Praful Patel saying that NCP was losing patience over the “delay” by Congress and that “options are open”.
Patel, a Union Minister, reportedly gave a three-day deadline to Congress, but Pawar denied any “ultimatum”.
“Seat sharing with INC to be resolved in next 10 days.
Talks are on in cordial manner, Praful Patel hasn’t given any ultimatum to INC,” the Maharashtra strongman said on micro blogging site Twitter.
In an earlier tweet, Pawar said that nation needed a stable government and NCP’s discussions with Congress are on in a “friendly manner”.
He also saw no impact of Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP in the Lok Sabha polls.
NCP is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA.
Congress had downplayed Patel’s “options are open” warning noting that the two parties are in alliance mode for the past 15 years and some tough bargaining was bound to be there at the time of seat sharing.
Patel had barely days earlier urged the political class to accept the judicial pronouncement regarding Narendra Modi on Gujarat riots, remarks which were seen as a sign of NCP going soft on the BJP PM candidate. The comment came even as Pawar slammed media reports that he met Modi as “baseless and mischievous”.
NCP is in alliance with the Congress and sharing power in Maharashtra since 1999 though Pawar parted ways with Congress on the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.
NCP is part of the UPA at the Centre for the past 10 years.
Maharashtra has 48 LokSabha seats.