"NCP missed out for insisting on cabinet berth for Praful Patel instead of accepting MoS with Independent charge"

Praful Patel
Praful Patel

Mumbai | Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party wanted a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi government and declined an offer from the BJP of minister of state (MoS) with independent charge.

"We had offered one berth of minister with independent charge to the NCP but it was insistent that (Rajya Sabha MP) Praful Patel's name be finalised. Due to his (Patel's) experience, the NCP believed he could not be made MoS with independent charge," he said.

"In a coalition government, a formula has to be drawn, which cannot be broken for one party. I can confidently say whenever cabinet expansion takes place, the (Union) government will consider the NCP. We did try to include NCP right now, but they insisted on cabinet portfolio," the senior BJP leader asserted.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Delhi, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar asserted the NCP "was ready to wait" but wanted a cabinet berth.

"We have one Lok Sabha member (Sunil Tatkare) and one Rajya Sabha MP (Praful Patel). In the coming months, we will have two additional Rajya Sabha MPs. We will have four MPs (then). We should (then) get a cabinet berth. We are ready to wait but want a cabinet berth," Pawar said.

"We have decided to support the NDA in the interest of the nation," the NCP chief added.

The Ajit Pawar-led NCP, part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra along with the BJP and the Shiv Sena, performed poorly in the Lok Sabha polls, managing to win just one seat (Raigad) from the four it contested. It also lost the prestige battle in Baramati, where Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra Pawar was trounced by sitting NCP (SP) MP Supriya Sule.

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