Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said on Friday there was no Modi wave in the country but argued that the new government at the Centre should be stable in the larger interest of the economy and the country. He observed that development would be a major plank in the run up to the coming parliamentary elections.
Pawar said he did not see an anti-Congress wave across the country and added that the results of the recent assembly elections in four states could not be the sole indicator. He also said it would be difficult to comment on the emergence of the third front in the country.
Further, Pawar, who filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election slated for February 7, also downplayed the surge in the Aam Aadmi Party’s presence at the national level. He reiterated that AAP’s presence would be restricted to New Delhi and not beyond.
Pawar, who is entering the Upper House for the first time since his entry into electoral politics in 1967, said the ensuing Lok Sabha polls would be between the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA.
However, he said regional parties would also play a crucial role in their respective areas and would be e key in the formation of the government at the Centre.
Pawar also mocked BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's development model, saying that it could not be the sole model applicable for the country as a whole. Instead, he said that UPA's development model was quite inclusive and focused on the development of power, road, infrastructure and agriculture.
Pawar hoped that India would achieve 5 per cent plus growth during the current fiscal and said that agriculture growth had played a major role. “The government is taking a number of decisions to boost project development and economic growth,” he noted.
On his ambition to become prime minister, Pawar said he knew the strength of his party and the seats it was contesting. Hence, there was no question of staking a claim for the same. “I am not available for the PM's post,” he replied to a question on Samajwadi party leader Abu Azmi's statement that he was the most suitable PM candidate compared to Rahul Gandhi.
On the Congress party's decision not to project Rahul Gandhi as PM, Pawar said it was the Congress party's internal issue. However, he recalled that the Congress had never declared its PM candidate in the past, ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
To a question whether he or his party would work in the UPA III led by Rahul Gandhi, Pawar said it was too hypothetical. “I have read in a section of the press that Rahul has said if his party MPs select him as PM, he would take it up. I don't want to answer questions based on if and but,” he added.
On seat-sharing between the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, Pawar said it would be finalised soon.
On the formation of a Maha Yuti (grand alliance) by Shiv Sena, BJP, Republican party of India and Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana to dislodge the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra, Pawar ridiculed claims made in this regard. The anti Congress-NCP wave was not seen in the recently-held elections to the two zilla parishads and municipal corporations, he said.