Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar believes that regional parties will not back the Bharatiya Janata Party if it goes ahead and names Gujarat strongman Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
In an interview to television channel CNN-IBN, the Nationalist Congress Party chief said that the BJP will not be able to reap any benefits across the country by having Modi as its PM mascot.
Here are edited excerpts from his interview in which Pawar reiterated his stand of not contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections
On Vidharbha being given separate statehood
That I cannot say because I am for the state, for the unity of the state. But I am also of the firm view that if sizeable section of the society, particularly from the region, wants a separate state and that separate state will be the viable state then I will not come in their way.
On Narendra Modi likely to be the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP
That I cannot say. I can understand that there is a possibility that anybody from any state has been projected as the prime minister candidate in that particular state, he or his party does get some benefit. But this will be the situation across India; this will be difficult for me to accept this.
Single party ruling concept, people of India have not accepted now. They want concept of coalition. They want respective political parties to work together on minimum agreed programme and provide stability. In that situation there has to be a person and leadership which is acceptable to sizeable other parties.
And from that angle it is difficult to say if BJP will get that kind of support from various cross section.
On being asked if he sees Modi emerging as the prime minister of the country in a coalition government?
I cannot say. I said that in coalition politics very few partners, political parties will support BJP this time with this leadership.
On a possibility of a third front
It is too early to say about that. As on today, I don't see the possibility of a third front. Ultimately if we are to form government here, either it will be Congress-led government or Congress supported government. If leadership like Vajpayee were there, comfort levels of other parties was much better than today.
And that is why sizable section accepted Vajpayee as a leader and he could provide a stable government for five years. So it depends on that. I don’t see the third front concept has any potential this time.
On him being a PM candidate for the next Lok Sabha elections
You see, I myself am not going to contest Lok Sabha election. That decision I have taken…secondly I know the limitation. A person who is expecting to become prime minister, he should at least get forty MPs from his own party which my party is not going to contest even that type of number.
So we are not expecting anything that is un-realistic. In such situation, my desire will be that there has to be stable government, there has to be progressive government.