NCP gives conflicting signals on alliance with Congress

NCP gives conflicting signals on alliance with Congress

Congress ally NCP today sent conflicting signals on the issue of alliance in the Lok Sabha polls with party chief Sharad Pawar rubbishing reports of a meeting with Narendra Modi while another senior leader Praful Patel said "options are open".

"News of my meeting with Narendra Modi in New Delhi on January 17 appeared in a newspaper. (It) is completely mischievous, baseless & false," the Agriculture Minister said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Pawar's tweets followed a front page report in a Marathi newspaper that the NCP chief is understood to have secretly met Modi in New Delhi on that day.

"During state visits or in Chief Ministers conferences in Delhi, I meet CMs and barring these occasions, never met Modi in the last one year," Pawar, whose party is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA, said in another tweet.

The newspaper report had claimed that the meeting had lasted nearly 30 minutes and that even senior leaders of the NCP and the BJP were not aware of it.

However, reflecting the unease in Congress-NCP ties in Maharashtra and apparently preparing for a tough bargain, Patel said Congress has delayed the seat sharing talks for "far too long" and the party was losing patience.

"It is not a good sign for the simple reason that elections are round the corner and all political parties need clarity on issues. Options for all political parties are open as long as they are very clear," Patel, a Union minister, told reporters.

"But, we are losing patience because Congress is delaying alliance talks," he said, adding this was creating confusion. 

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