Pawar lets Cong know he is angry

With the pressure of putting up a united face gone after the successful completion of the presidential election, the differences in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came out in the open on Thursday when the Nationalist Congress Party leaders threatened to quit the union cabinet.

The grouse, however, is old. It is still upset over the defence minister A K Antony being allocated the seat next to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a cabinet meeting, which was earlier occupied by the former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Both the NCP ministers in the cabinet – the agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and the heavy industries minister Praful Patel – offered to resign from the government. They did not attend the cabinet meeting on Thursday to show their displeasure at Pawar not getting the symbolic No. 2 position in the government. In the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Antony was allotted the second position, while the third position was allotted to Pawar.

Though the NCP spokersperson D P Tripathi did not give a reason for boycotting the meeting, he said that the UPA government was stable. The Congress also played down the incident, saying that it was the matter between the two parties and would be sorted out soon.
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