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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Solapur, Pune, January 11, 2014
Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde found himself in serious trouble after his remark that he would like to see Sharad Pawar as prime minister. Hours after his controversial statement, Shinde clarified that Rahul Gandhi is Congress’ prime ministerial candidate. “Sharad Pawar is my political guru and I will certainly like to see him as the prime minister. He has capabilities of a tiger,” Shinde had told the media in his home constituency Solapur.

Sources close to Shinde said he was made aware about the big controversy due to his statement, and he then clarified his comment.

Shinde said that his statement was misunderstood. Shinde’s remarks created such a stir that NCP spokesperson Navab Malik publicly thanked Shinde for his wishes to the Maratha strongman.

Shinde’s remark created a sensation among Congress activists when the party is all set to declare its vice-president Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidate next week. Congress workers pointed out that urban part of Solapur constituency has been tough for the Congress and some parts of rural areas support Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, which has recently joined hands with the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.

Under changing circumstances, Shinde’s remark is being seen as an attempt to be in good books of NCP’s ground level workers.