NCP attack, Congress and Praful Patel in damage-control mode

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) An NCP leader today lashed outat Rahul Gandhi for his reported comments blaming coalitionpolitics for the price rise forcing the Congress and his ownparty to initiate an urgent damage-control exercise.

"Congress party is the principal party in the UPA andany statement of the leader of that party should reflecthumility and not arrogance," NCP General Secretary andspokesperson D P Tripathi told a press conference here.

In remarks that caused discomfort in Congress, Tripathisaid single-party rule in India was not not possible in theforeseeble future and that coalition was being practised in 65countries, "including Italy".

Soon Congress reacted blaming media''s "erroneous andmisreporting" of Gandhi''s interaction with students of somecolleges in Lucknow yesterday.

"This is completely wrong and erroneous reporting.

Rahul Gandhi has not said anything of the sort andmade no such allegation as being ascribed to him in thereports.

"At no point of time during the closed-door discussion(with students), he referred to any coalition partner NCP orSharad Pawar. He has been misquoted and misreported," partyspokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters at AICC briefing.

He also refused to fault the NCP reaction saying thiswill happen if a wrong report is published.

Stepping in to temper Tripathi''s remarks, NCP VicePresident Praful Patel said "I don''t think Rahul Gandhi''sstatement should be read in the context of the currentcoalition. Rahul has not not criticised any party inparticular. I think the remarks of Tripathi have been blownout of context."

In an apparent reference to Tripathi listing Italy asone of the countries that has a coalition government, Patelsaid "it was unwarranted".

Yesterday, Rahul had at the interaction was reportedlyasked how the late Indira Gandhi was able to control both theproblems of price rise and corruption and he had apparentlysaid that Indira Gandhi was able to do it because she had leda single party government and now now the UPA faced coalitioncompulsions. (More) AMR SPG VSC

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