Merge NCP with Cong, Uddhav advises Pawar

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Mumbai, Apr 15 (UNI) Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray today advised NCP chief Sharad Pawar to merge his party with Congress, if he was supporting Sonia Gandhi for premiership Talking to reporters here, Mr Thackeray said Mr Pawar, who had said he had no objection to Rahul or Sonia Gandhi becoming leaders after the next general elections, should remember his speeches nine years ago when he left the Congress on the issue of Sonia's foreign origin.

''If the issue of Sonia's foreign origin is over then merge NCP with the parent party,'' Mr Thackeray remarked.

When asked about Shiv Sena's earlier stand of supporting Mr Pawar for premiership, he said that now his party is with NDA and is supporting L K Advani for prime ministership.

''Shiv Sena and NCP were never close,'' he asserted.

Talking about the demand of 80 per cent job quota for locals in private companies, he said that Shiv Sena had taken up this issue right from its inception and now people are trying to gain mileage from it. Recently, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray had made this demand.

While raising the issue of water scarcity, Mr Thackeray said ''Mumbai has an approximate population of 1.5 crore and has the capacity to supply water only to 80 lakh people.'' Avoiding to directly welcome or oppose the protection being given to hutments in the city that have come up till the year 2000, he said that for him water supply is more important.

UNI JM NM SKB AM VC1817

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