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NCP beats Cong with 'betrayal' stick Party pushes for Pawar PM

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 16.05.09

Guwahati, May 15: In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, the Northeast committee of the NCP today demanded that the party’s central leadership sever ties with the “opportunist and untrustworthy” Congress — a phrase now often used to describe the NCP by its former allies in Meghalaya.

Taking a dig at the Congress for keeping it at bay and forming the government with United Democratic Party and other smaller parties in Meghalaya, the NCP’s Northeast Congress Coordination Committee said the Congress had “betrayed” it.

“We (the NCP) were an ally of the Congress at the Centre and yet it betrayed us in Meghalaya. What kind of a party is this which does not respect its co-travellers?” committee chairman Radha Binod Koijam said, conveniently ignoring the fact that the NCP in the Northeast had been taking an anti-Congress stand despite being an ally of the UPA.

In Nagaland and Meghalaya, it even joined hands with the BJP.

In its meeting today, the committee decided to “go all out” to launch party leader Sharad Pawar as its prime ministerial candidate. It appealed to all the parties of the Northeast, including the Congress, to back Pawar’s candidature for the top job.

Going a step further, NCP leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma said he personally had no problem in taking support from the BJP and Shiv Sena as he did not subscribe to the view that the two parties were “communal”.

“The people of India had voted the BJP to power. This means they have rejected the perception of BJP being communal, otherwise we have to say that the people of India became communal to vote for a communal party. How can we say it is a communal party when it has produced a towering Prime Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee?” Sangma said in an apparent bid to reach out to the saffron brigade.

He, however, skirted a question on whether the Northeast units of the NCP would distance themselves from the central unit if the latter decided to go with the Congress.

“It is a hypothetical situation and I will answer it as and when such a situation arises,” he said.

Sangma said the NCP would meet at Pawar’s residence on Sunday to chalk out its strategy.

On his failed courtship with the Congress in Meghalaya, Sangma alleged that the Congress did not even respect the word of its own Prime Minister.

“On receiving a call from the Prime Minister’s Office, I went to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 6. During our meeting, the Prime Minister said let us restore the glory of Meghalaya with the Congress and the NCP coming together. After our meeting, the Prime Minister, in front of me, called (Congress leader) Ahmed Patel and said, ‘I and Purno have agreed that the Congress and the NCP should work together in Meghalaya. Now please go ahead and prepare the details.’ But the Congress did not respect the Prime Minister’s words,” Sangma claimed.

Refuting the allegation of having ditched his allies in Meghalaya, Sangma said his agreement was with Donkupar Roy (UDP president and former chief minister) and not with J.D. Rymbai (UDP Legislature Party leader).

“I had made it very clear to the UDP that if it changes its leader, my agreement with it will stand scrapped,” he said.

“Moreover, when the ministers and MLAs of the coalition partners were deserting us, what did one expect me to do? Commit political suicide?” he added.