Hyderabad: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar prefers Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, or West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee or former Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the Prime Minister’s post.
In an interview to a TV channel on Saturday, Mr Pawar said Ms Banerjee, Mr Naidu and Ms Mayawati were better contenders for the top post than Rahul Gandhi.
He hinted at forging alliances with some National Democratic Alliance parties. “Once the Lok Sabha elections are over, we will come out with a common minimum programme to provide an alternative to the country,” he said. He asked if any non-NDA grand alliance still existed, and said, “all the talk about Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister is baseless”.
Mr Pawar who ruled himself out of the Prime Ministerial race wants to emerge as kingmaker should the elections result in a hung Parliament.
On forging alliances with some NDA parties after the elections, he said, “We may bring some parties from NDA to our alliance after the polls.”
Pawar cites 2004 precedent of post-poll alliance
He recalled, “In 2004, all of us fought individually without a united front. After the elections, we came together at Sonia Gandhi’s residence. Manmohan (Singh), Pranab Mukherjee and I discussed the matter and then we spoke of getting support from many non-BJP coalition partners. We provided an alternative stable government to the country for 10 years; you cannot ignore that fact.”
He said that there is no dearth of good leaders in the country. “We have many leaders who are capable and it will be improper to name anyone now…we will have the magic number with everyone’s support, so our policy while forming the government will be creating a common minimum programme.”
The need of the hour is to collaborate since regional parties cannot script success beyond their strongholds. “The DMK will never yield results in UP, the same is applicable to Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party. Hence all of us have decided that we will cooperate with each other and after the elections are over we will come out with a common minimum programme to provide an alternative to the country.”
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