Thane: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has stuck to his position that if NCP chief Sharad Pawar was keen on contesting the presidential election, he should join the National Democratic Alliance. Mr Athawale’s comments, made at Dombivili in Thane last night after similar remarks last week in Nagpur, come against the backdrop of Mr Pawar’s name being earlier discussed by the Opposition camp for the presidential post.
Mr Athawale, a veteran politician from Maharashtra, had also said that he would not be contesting the polls.
When reporters asked the Union Social Justice Minister on who should be the next president, Mr Athawale said, “This decision lies with the NDA. If Pawar wants to become the president, he should join the NDA.”
He also said that Mr Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If a ‘Marathi manoos’ becomes the president, (I) will be happy,” said the chief of Republican Party of India (Athawale), an ally of BJP.
To another question, the Union minister said Mr Pawar may not become the candidate of the opposition parties.
During an interaction with reporters in Nagpur on Saturday, Athawale said, “Only the NDA candidate will win the election. Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he should discuss with the PM and BJP president Amit Shah about his candidature.”
“We will support him if he fights as an NDA nominated candidate, but he should not contest as a UPA candidate,” he said.