New Delhi: In more 'ally headache' for the UPA, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel are reportedly considering resigning for not being given due credit for their work and seniority. The two have also said they will not be attending office on Friday.
In fact, for a second time on Thursday, Pawar and Patel skipped the Cabinet meeting despite the fact that on agenda was a matter relating to Pawar's ministry.
NCP sources have said the two will not attend their ministry and are ready to quit, though the two refuse to confirm.
Sources say the rift is over the number two slot. With Pranab Mukherjee gone, Pawar, as per seniority, should have been made number two.
Congress, however, argued that the NCP had only nine MPs while Congress was the largest constituent of the UPA and hence could choose the number two. It's Defence Minister AK Antony who got the slot. This upset the NCP.
NCP sources also said Pawar was upset by the Congress's witch-hunting and lack of gratitude.
Pawar is believed to have been angry that some of his nominees for the Governor's post and for chairmanship of NABARD and NAFED were rejected. Certain projects with which Sharad Pawar was involved were not cleared by government. Also, he accused the Cabinet of dragging its feet over forward trading.
Congress does seem worried that the clout which Pawar yields could make things difficult for them in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.
A way out some suggest, is making Pawar the Leader of the House.
The question, however, is who will blink first?