NCP is unlikely to get more ministerial berths despite Union Minister Sharad Pawar's desire to "reduce" his burden in the wake of becoming the ICC chief. Government sources on Monday said there was no question of the quota alloted to NCP being extended.
NCP has three ministers at the Centre with Pawar, the party chief, being the Cabinet minister in-charge of Agriculture, Food and Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs.
Party leader Praful Patel is a Minister of State (Independent Charge) looking after Civil Aviation while Agatha Sangma is a Minister of State in the Rural Development Department.
A Union Minister said Pawar could be given additional hands at the Ministers of State level to ease his workload but they would not be from the NCP, whose quota is already full.
Congress leaders are said to be baffled over the timing of Pawar's request and the motive behind it, with a section feeling that the NCP supremo might be wanting to settle the succession issue by bringing in his daughter Supriya Sule in the Union Ministry in view of his nephew Ajit Pawar being a senior minister in Maharashtra.
Pawar's meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few days back had triggered reports of the possibility of a reshuffle in the Union Cabinet. However, government sources said it is not likely to happen in the near future. PTI