We did not cause even a second’s delay – Congress Party

Congress general secretary Ahmed Patel today denied charges that his party dragged its heels in the formation of a new government in Maharasthra, giving rival BJP enough time to break Congress’ ally Nationalist Congress Party and come back to power.

“We haven’t caused even a second’s delay,” Patel said, addressing media today. “But it’s true that whatever processes had to be followed in the formation of such a government, those were followed.”

Patel’s comments came in the wake of the BJP forming an alliance with a breakaway portion of the Nationalist Congress Party, taking everyone by surprise.

The development led to much criticism heading Congress Party’s way because the party is seen as having taken ‘too long’ to come to an agreement on major issues with Shiv Sena and NCP.

“We did take some time because we wanted some assurances from Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena too has expressed its opinion that they are committed to constitutional provisions.. All parties are in agreement,” he said.

On being probed further, he said government formation talks have ‘almost’ been completed.

“It was almost sorted out. Today, it was in a final stage, when this happened,” he said, referring to the ‘midnight swearing in’ of the BJP government. “There’s nothing big [that remains to be sorted],” he added.

Patel also said a consensus has been reached on the post of chief minister for the alliance, referring to the decision to give the CM post to Shiv Sena.

He, however, said it took an extra 2-3 days to sort of some of the issues.

He also denied reports that the Congress withdrew from a joint press conference of opposition parties.

“The original notification was that Shiv Sena and NCP will hold a press conference. Later our name was added to it. But we had called a meeting here [at Congress headquarters in Mumbai]. But we still attended the meeting and have jointly arrived at certain conclusions,” he said.