In a veiled attack on ally NCP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said that nowadays even "parties with only 9 MPs get three portfolios in the Union Cabinet".
"There is coordination in Maharashtra but in Delhi it is more difficult as there are several smaller parties," he said at an awards function to honor journalists in Mumbai last night.
Referring to the UPA-I tenure, Chavan said it was a good thing that the Left with 61 MPs was not part of the government.
"Had they been, we would have had to make 15 of their members ministers, because now parties with only nine MPs have three ministers," he said in an apparent reference to NCP.
The NCP, which is an ally in the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, has nine Lok Sabha MPs. While NCP chief Sharad Pawar is the Union Minister for Agriculture, Praful Patel is the Union minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
Agatha Sangma is Minister of State for Rural Development.
Agreeing that there should be coordination between the alliance partners, Chavan expressed satisfaction that last week's stand-off between Congress and NCP had been amicably resolved.
Also last evening, Pawar, who was in Navi Mumbai at another function, took a pot-shot at Chavan and state Congress chief by saying that the NCP group leader in Legislative Assembly and the state unit party chief are both elected directly by the people.
"Both have better assessment of people's issues and problems," he said.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and state Congress president Manikrao Thakre are members of the legislative Council.