Maharashtra governor fails to break Congress-NCP deadlock

Maharashtra governor fails to break Congress-NCP deadlock

NCP leader and deputy-chief minister designate Chhagan Bhujbal reiterated his party's stance and accused the Congress of adopting "delaying tactics" in forming the new government.
"Congress is delaying the government formation, not the NCP," Bhujbal told reporters after meeting the governor at the Raj Bhawan here.

He said that if the Congress does not agree to the power-sharing formula decided in 1999, then the NCP would offer "outside support" instead of joining the ministry.
"I informed the governor that our letter of support is ready, it is up to the Congress to take the initiative in forming the government," said Bhujbal.

Earlier, the governor also met chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan for half-an-hour in an effort to break the impasse that continues 13 days after the assembly results were declared. The outgoing assembly's tenure ends on Wednesday.

In a surprise development Tuesday, the governor had summoned both the Chavan and Bhujbal to Raj Bhavan to sort out the issue.

While Chavan met Jamir around 11 a.m., Bhujbal called on him around 11.30 a.m.
The two parties - Congress with 82 seats and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 62 seats in the 288-member assembly - are locked in a bitter squabble over the sharing of portfolios in the new government.

Both the parties have adopted an uncompromising stand on the issue of certain key portfolios like home, finance, power, agriculture, urban development and public works ministries.

Last week, NCP leader Ajit Pawar had said that in the 2004 elections, even though NCP had 71 seats compared to 59 of Congress, it agreed to accept the post of deputy chief minister and give the chief minister's post to the latter.

"At that time, to keep the CM's (chief minister) post, the Congress offered us (NCP) four extra ministries and three departments," he pointed out.

Sensing a kill, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena combine have given an ultimatum for the government formation by Tuesday, failing which they would demand imposition of President's Rule in the state.

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