Nationalist Congress Party chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is ready to become the country’s prime minister, provided there is a consensus, said party leader and Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel in a television interview.
Patel was quick to add that any talk on this right now is premature.
NCP, which currently occupies nine seats in the Lok Sabha, is aiming for at least 15 of the total 48 seats in Maharashtra during the 2014 general elections, which would give a boost to its bargaining power.
Patel’s statement on the party’s view on Pawar comes at a time when tensions between the NCP and the Congress are mounting. Both the parties, though, have to take a formal stand.
The two parties have been threatening to fight separately in the next Parliamentary and assembly elections. Patel’s timing is also crucial as the Congress is being attacked from all corners.
Further, Praful has also dropped sufficient hints to the Congress that it should not take the NCP for a ride as it can explore multiple options to consolidate its position both in the Lok Sabha as well as the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar, in an interview to a national daily, has not hidden his ambition to become the chief minister by declaring that his party would insist on more seats for the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, both slated for 2014.
Pawar went on to add that the NCP would elect the next chief minister of the state. He subtly expressed that there was nothing wrong in aspiring to be the chief minister but clarified that the NCP Legislature Party would have to elect the chief minister. NCP has 62 members in the 288-member state assembly.
Pawar further said it was a mistake to offer the CM’s post to the Congress after the 2004 elections.
NCP state unit chief Madhukar Pichad said the NCP has emerged number one in the polls for the civic and local bodies in Maharashtra. The party will certainly aim at winning more seats in the Lok Sabha and also in the state assembly.
He said a meeting of nearly 2,000 party members, including district presidents and elected representatives, has been convened on March 7 in Mumbai to decide an election strategy.