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Congress proposal fails to enthuse NCP

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 24, 2004 20:51 IST
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The Congress on Sunday offered three additional ministerial berths and two portfolios from its quota to its ally Nationalist Congress Party in return for the post of chief minister in Maharashtra. But the latter was unmoved.

Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in Delhi, "We cannot go beyond this. Now it is for them (NCP) to respond."

He refused to comment on the role of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in the deliberations. The Congress claimed the support of the three CPI-M MLAs in its arguments with the NCP though the Left party has not made any such offer.

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"My party is not very enthusiastic about these proposals," Praful Patel, who has been authorised by the NCP to talk to the Congress on the leadership issue, told reporters in Delhi.

He, however, said this was the first time the Congress had put forth a concrete proposal to break the eight-day deadlock on the post of chief minister.

"We have received proposals from the Congress and I will hold consultations with my party leaders about the same. This is all that I can say," he said.

"Won't you give me at least a day's time," he asked reporters who sought to know how much time NCP would take to decide on the Congress offer.

A meeting of the NCP legislature party has been convened on Monday at 1400 IST at the party headquarters in south Mumbai, party general secretary Gurunath Kulkarni told PTI. However, no agenda has been set for the meeting.

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