New Delhi: Congress on Monday sought to downplay the rift with NCP saying such situations keep arising in coalition politics and indicated that back-channel talks were underway to resolve the issue.

AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the issues between the two parties will be resolved through talks.

"Such situations keep arising in coalition politics. These things are generally resolved through talks and mutual understanding. Let us hope for the best," Dwivedi told reporters.

NCP had last week decided to pull out of UPA government and support it from outside in protest against the way the party was treated by Congress.

A meeting of the Sharad Pawar-led party remained inconclusive on Monday. Senior NCP leaders will meet again on Tuesday to take a decision on the issue.

Congress sources said the issues raised by NCP were not related to the Centre but to Maharashtra.

They said back-channel discussions were on and the situation has not reached to such a pass that they will replace Prithviraj Chavan as Chief Minister of the state, yielding to pressure from NCP.

The problem could be of approach and style of functioning and amending them can also resolve issues, sources said.

Dwivedi's carefully worded reaction came on a day, when the NCP kept it guessing on its pullout plans from the government but made it clear that it will not rock the UPA boat and continue its support "till the end".

That the Congress is keen to resolve the differences with the NCP was evident when a senior leader pointed out that Maharashtra is an important state for the party, where they have formed government successively for two terms in alliance.

"They (NCP) have said that they have certain problems. These will be resolved in next few days....right now the issue is basically of approach. The situation has not reached the level of seeking replacement of any individual," a party leader said speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another Congress leader, speaking separately, dismissed contentions of change of guard in Maharashtra saying there is no question of replacing Prithviraj Chavan as Chief Minister.

"If their intent is so, it cannot be accepted. We have already had three Chief Ministers in one Assembly term. We cannot just keep on changing CMs," the leader said.

He at the same time said the issue is not about change of Chief Minister even if there is no great bonhomie between Chavan and Pawar.

Amid the continuing impasse over Congress-NCP ties, Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre has written to the NCP state chief Madhukar Pichad expressing Congress' readiness to hold monthly meetings of the coordination committee.

"Such a meeting is necessary to discuss the issues between the two parties and for better coordination. They will raise their issues and we too can inform them of our views," Thakre said.

An AICC functionary expressed confidence that the matter will be resolved very soon and that Congress will not like to lose any ally.


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