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Back Pawar, Sangma tells Congress

Sushanta Talukdar

“NCP should not support Congress in government formation”

— PHOTO: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP general secretary P.A. Sangma at a press conference in Guwahati on Friday.

Guwahati: Nationalist Congress Party general secretary P.A. Sangma on Friday said the Congress should gracefully support his party president Sharad Pawar for Prime Minister. He urged Mr. Pawar not to support the Congress in government formation.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker told journalists here that the NCP units in the northeast and Jammu Kashmir were unanimous that the party should have nothing to do with the Congress in government formation and it should try to install a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party government headed by Mr. Pawar.

However, to a question, Mr. Sangma said the people did not believe in the campaign that the BJP was a communal party, pointing out that its government, headed by A.B. Vajpayee, ruled the country for six years.

Mr. Sangma said Mr. Pawar had told him that the NCP was keeping all options open and its strategy would be worked out on May 17. He denied that there was a split in the NCP over government formation and said the party was yet to take a decision.

Asked if he and the party units in the northeast would break away from the NCP if it decided to support the Congress in government formation, Mr. Sangma said it was hypothetical question.

Both Mr. Sangma and Northeast NCP Coordination Committee chairman Radha Binod Koijam accused the Congress of betraying their party in Meghalaya.

Mr. Sangma alleged that the Congress had no respect for its Prime Minister. It formed a government along with the United Democratic Party (UDP) in Meghalaya even after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told senior Congress leaders that Mr. Sangma and he [the Prime Minister] agreed that the Congress and the NCP should work together in the State.

Reacting to the UDP charge that he [Mr. Sangma] had betrayed the regional party and other constituents of the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance by holding parleys with the Congress without taking them into confidence, he said the power sharing agreement was only between him and the former Chief Minister, Donkupar Roy, and it ended immediately after the UDP replaced Mr. Roy by the former Chief Minister, J.D. Rymbai.

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