New Delhi, July 20 (IBNS): After supposedly resigning from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) cabinet in New Delhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has threatened to exit the UPA in governance but remain with it by offering outside support.
In a letter the the Prime Minister, which was made available to some media, Pawar said he wants to build his small party for the future.
"We are a small party. So it doesn't confer stature or respectability. So we need to build up our party for the future. Therefore we need to devote more time to build up our party," the letter of Pawar to the PM said as quoted in some media.
He also wrote: "We have been a strong and progressive ally of the UPA and we shall continue to be in alliance."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday called the Union Agriculture Minister as a 'very valued colleague' amid reports of fresh conflicts between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and their yet another alliance partner.
"Sharad Pawar is a very valued colleague of mine whose knowledge, wisdom and experience are a great asset to our government," Singh was quoted as saying to the media on Friday.
Amid reports that union ministers and NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel have resigned, Patel on Friday said they are an integral part of the government and his leader Pawar is not jockeying for number two slot as spread by a section of the Congress through media.
Patel also did not specify if they had indeed resigned saying that they sent a communication to the Prime Minister, though reports said they indeed stepped down.
"The issue of number two [position for Pawar after Pranab Mukherjee's exit to contest the Prez polls] has been blown out of proportion," Patel told reporters in a press conference on Friday.
Patel said the issue of Sharad Pawar eyeing number two position is absurd since his stature is far above and "Pawar brings much more to the table that just where he sits."
He said he even sits next to Sonia Gandhi in parliament.
Patel named a section of Congress leaders for the press speculations and said "those people who are raising these types of issues are petty themselves."
Patel said they have raised certain issues with the UPA since it is entering the last two years of its being in power before the 2014 elections and those issues should be addressed ahead of polls.
"Pawar did send a communication to the Prime Minister raising these issues. Unfortunately there has been tremendous speculation. There are some sections of people in the Congress which has been fuelling unnecessary speculations," Patel said.
"They are saying Pawar wants number two slot. These are absolutely unreasonable and unnecessary comments by some sections of Congress party in the name of sources," he said.
Patel said the Prime Minister on receiving Pawar's communication [he did not specify it as resignation letter] did speak to him on phone yesterday, and met Pawar last nite itself," he said.
Patel said with Sonia Gandhi also the same issues of functiong of government was discussed on Friday when she met Sharad Pawar.
Earlier, there were reports that the two NCP stalwarts resigned in a huff triggering a fresh coalition crisis to the government already roiled by troubles from other allies and "policy paralysis".
Pawar and Patel had reportedly sent their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and later Pawar met UPA chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi briefly on Friday morning.
Reports said Pawar met Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence for about 20 minutes.
Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel were not turning up at cabinet meetings and did not attend the meeting on Thursday evening allegedly over a seating arrangement change without information which came as an "affront" to
Pawar and seen as a slighting to his seniority, media reports said.
According to reports quoting unnamed sources, NCP is peeved with Congress and accused it of not knowing the thumb rules of running a coalition government.
Media reports said Pawar is upset that a new seating arrangement following the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee to contest the Presidential poll, has not been informed to them and his seniority was ignored.
After Pranab Mukheree stepped down, Defence Minister AK Antony has been seated next to the Prime Minister at cabinet meetings.
While after Pranab Mukherjee's exit for two meetings Sharad Pawar sat next to the Prime Minister, in the next two meetings Antony got the honour and since the change was made without any information, Pawar was angry, reports said.
The move of resignation, according to some political circles, is also seen as a muscle flexing by NCP ahead of an imminent cabinet reshuffle, though Patel rubbished such ideas.