Mumbai: Even though Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has dismissed reports about becoming UPA chairperson, veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde has come out in open endorsing the latter’s name to lead the UPA. Shinde’s move is politically significant especially when the Congress party, which is currently involved in sorting out its internal organisational issues and poll schedule for a full time president, has been silent on the issue.
“Despite not having any official post, NCP's Sharad Pawar is still leading the country. I will like him becoming the UPA Chairperson. In 50 years, Pawar has seen many ups and downs. He was cornered by many on a number of issues but he did not allow the social balance to deteriorate,’’ said Shinde. “After Yashwantrao Chavan, Pawar is the only leader who has mass followers and connect with every section of the society,’’ he added.
Shinde said, “It was Pawar who brought me into politics and made me big.’’
Shinde’s statement cannot be completely discarded as he enjoys good rapport with both Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and party MP Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has reiterated that his party will be happy if a leader (read Pawar) from Maharashtra becomes UPA chairperson. Shiv Sena has termed Pawar as an architect of the coalition which has kept BJP out of power despite winning 105 seats.
“NCP president Sharad Pawar should have become the Prime Minister much earlier. But he was prevented from becoming the Prime Minister,” said Raut who was in Nashik.
“I have repeatedly said that Congress has done injustice to Pawar. Sharad Pawar is a leader of the country for the last 25 years who should have got the opportunity to become the Prime Minister earlier. Sharad Pawar's performance and stature have been the biggest obstacle in his journey. People of lesser strength were always afraid of Pawar's stature in the politics,’’ said Raut.
He further claimed that, therefore, leaders of the North worked to permanently to put roadblocks. Pawar-baiters worked hard so that he could make to PM’s post.