In an apparent damage control measure, NCP on Wednesday said that it would very much be part of the Maharashtra government, a couple of hours after state Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced that it was ready to extend outside support to the Congress.
"There are no two opinions on whether or not NCP wants to be part of the government. Definitely, we will be part of the government and informal talks are going on," NCP General Secretary and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters here.
He said the discussions on government formation in Maharashtra were on between the state leaders of the two parties. "A final decision would be reached at after high-level talks between leaders of the two allies."
Patel maintained that his party was ready to give a letter extending support to the Congress to form the government "if it is the only issue holding up government formation".
He said the NCP had proposed continuance of the 1999 power sharing arrangement between the two parties under which Chief Minister was from Congress, while NCP leader held the post of Deputy Chief Minister in addition to key portfolios like Home, Finance, Power and PWD.
Congress is keen on changing the power sharing pact and is pressing for some major portfolios.
However, Patel said the differences between the two parties were "not irreconciliable" and outstanding issues would be resolved through "high-level talks."
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir on Wednesday stepped in to inject a sense of urgency in government formation and NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal added a new twist saying his party would support a Congress government from outside.
But his party leader and Union Minister Praful Patel made it clear that his party will be part of the new government that will be formed "at the earliest".
Talks are on with Congress and issues will be sorted out "amicably and to the satisfaction of all", he said in New Delhi adding what he was saying is "official" stand of the party.
12 days after the results were out giving the Congress-NCP coalition a majority in the Assembly, the two parties are yet to sort out problems of portfolio distribution among them and give an indication as to when they would form the government. PTI