Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday refused to comment on Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement that he would like to see him as the prime minister.
When asked about the same at a press conference in Mumbai, Pawar said, "This (event) is to make announcement about the Krishi Vasant exhibition, and I am not contesting the Lok Sabha election."
On Saturday, during a public interaction with editors of a Marathi newspaper in his hometown Solapur, Shinde had said he would be happy if Pawar became the prime minister. "I would be happy if Pawar becomes the PM. He is my political guru. I entered the politics because of him," Shinde had said.
Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party denied that he was in the race for the PM's post. "Pawar is not running for the prime minister's post," NCP general secretary and Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Tariq Anwar told reporters.
"At the same time, the NCP chief has all the credentials required for the PM's post and his experience in public life is second to none among all political leaders in the country," he said.
Anwar, a close aide of Pawar, said, "It is the number game that decides who becomes the prime minister and in the NCP chief's case, he does not have the numbers with him." If Pawar had got the numbers in terms of MPs, he would have definitely become the prime minister, he said.
On Shinde's praise for Pawar whom he had described as his "political guru", Anwar said that the Union home minister's remarks were made in his personal capacity.
Shinde had worked as a state minister during Pawar's tenure as the Maharashtra chief minister and so his remarks praising the NCP should be seen as his respect towards the latter and nothing more, Anwar said.
On the NCP's strategy for the general elections to be held this year, he said that his party was seized with the issue and the same would be finalised by March next.
In Bihar's case, Anwar said that his party was part of the United Progress Alliance and it will go with whichever alliance the Congress decides to work out in the state.