4:05 pm: The meeting is likely to be held tomorrow and latest by day after, Patel said.
“We are supporting the UPA as a core constituent. We are not a supporting party post-election,” he said.
The NCP is not a post-poll ally of the UPA and will continue to support it till the very end, the senior NCP leader said.
“There is a section of the Congress party which has been spreading this canards to malign the NCP and some have the sadistic pleasure of seeing the alliance being broken,” Patel said.
“Mr Pawar does not want the chair next to the Prime Minister,” Patel said, saying the NCP chief was not seeking anything for himself. With that Patel calls the press conference to an end.
4:00 pm: We will let the Maharashtra government function properly and will not interfere in any manner, Patel said.
Agatha Sangma has also told the party president Sharad Pawar that she would follow the party’s directions on whether to stay on as a minister in the UPA government, he said
Our relation with the Congress will continue as always, Patel said, adding that the NCP leaders have not resigned from their ministerial posts.
“By tomorrow or day after we will take a final decision,” he said
3:50 pm: Praful Patel addresses the media after the meeting.
“Some of out colleagues were not able to be present here but when we were in Mumbai on Saturday we have spoken to them,” he said.
“Before any final decision we should speak with our Maharashtra colleagues yet again. We will meet again tomorrow to take a decision on this matter,” the minister said.
“But I would like to say that many comments are being made that as far as the UPA goes we are a member of the alliance and will remain in it as a responsible ally. In Maharashtra also the Congress and NCP alliance will remain and we will ensure it functions properly,” he said
3.40pm: A crucial meet is underway at National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s residence, in which party leaders will decide whether or not the party should continue as a partner in the UPA coalition.
Pawar is reportedly negotiating a larger and more powerful portfolio for himself, with media analysts saying that he is likely to ask for one of the Raisina hill ministries. Speculation is also rife that Pawar is likely to hand back the Agriculture ministry, even as the country grapples with a poor monsoon and drought like situation in some parts of the country.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly reached out to Pawar, striking a reconciliatory note, even as reports emerged that the NCP head was planning to skip a UPA dinner hosted by the premier scheduled for tonight. Singh had called Pawar personally, and asked him to attend.
The NCP is reportedly upset because in their opinion the Congress has “denigrated and humiliated the coalition”.