Despite vital differences with the Congress party at the Centre and in Maharashtra, its coalition partner, the Nationalist Congress Party, on Saturday said that it would want the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to complete its full five-year term.

Relations between the coalition allies touched an all-time-low after NCP chief Sharad Pawar shot off a communication to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, threatening to quit regarding policy matters, and complaining that his party was being left out of key decisions.

Speaking to reporters here, senior NCP leader and Minister for Heavy Industries, Praful Patel, stated that the NCP would remain an ally of the UPA, and extend it its fullest co-operation.

He, however, emphasised the need for co-ordination with the Congress at the Centre as well as in the State, complaining that co-ordination committee meetings between the two parties no longer took place.

“The functioning of the government at the Centre and in the State hasn’t been according to our expectation after all these years. Our views haven’t been considered,” said Mr. Patel.

Mr. Patel refused to highlight the contentious issues with the Congress government’s functioning in Maharashtra, stating that the purpose wasn’t to target any one individual or minister.

The NCP’s complaint with the UPA wasn’t regarding Mr. Pawar being denied the number 2 seat in the Cabinet, stressed Mr. Patel, dismissing suggestions that the NCP chief was merely starting a row to salvage his political pride.

“It is unfortunate that the UPA hasn’t taken advantage of the stature of a politician like Sharad Pawar,” commented Mr. Patel.

Expressing dissatisfaction at the UPA government’s current state, Mr. Patel said the NCP, nevertheless, would like to have a secular, progressive government at the Centre.

Mr. Pawar didn’t address the media at the airport, or after the meeting of the NCP top brass, that took place at his residence in the afternoon.

Speaking to The Hindu, NCP State president Madhukar Pichad criticised the Congress government’s handling of the drought situation in Maharashtra, one of the topics of discussion at the meeting.

But the strain in Congress-NCP ties is yet to be resolved, with Mr. Patel stating that the party would take a final call on issues only on Monday, after a meeting of its members in New Delhi.

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