With the endgame of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) standoff yet to be played out, the Congress in Maharashtra has adopted a sober ‘wait-and-watch’ posture in contrast to the NCP’s demands concerning key issues at the Central and State levels.
On Monday morning, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan conferred with the party brass in the State, including Manikrao Thakre, Narayan Rane and Balasaheb Thorat, in his chamber in the Legislature before the start of the NCP meeting in Delhi.
Mr. Chavan remained tight-lipped throughout the day, refusing to comment on the issue.
“Our conduct has been reserved throughout the affair,” a top Congress leader told The Hindu, while tacitly indicating that larger issues were at stake for the NCP at the central level than in the State.
Acknowledging that the situation was worrisome, he said the Congress would respond only after its ally made its next move in Delhi.
“We have heard that they had issues over poor co-ordination, but have not specified as to what they were. I have written a letter to Madhukar Pichad [State president of the NCP] calling for a joint meeting of the two parties and the co-ordination committee to discuss these alleged flashpoints,” said Congress State president Manikrao Thakre.
Mr. Pichad, however, said he had not received any letter from his Congress counterpart as yet.
Earlier last week, senior NCP leader Praful Patel stressed that their party was not indulging in pressure tactics. A section of the State Congress leadership was intent on maligning the NCP leadership, he argued.