The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key member of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Wednesday declared its support for Manmohan Singh as the grouping's prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha polls.
"We have already supported his candidature. UPA's candidate (prime minister) is Manmohan Singh," party general secretary D.P. Tripathi said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said in Delhi on Tuesday there could be many contenders for the post of prime minister, but nobody measured up to Manmohan Singh.
Congress and NCP have already announced a 26-22 seat-sharing agreement for Maharashtra.
Asked about the prime ministerial ambitions of NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Tripathi said: "No question about it."
Pawar had said March 13 that Maharashtra should be given a chance to occupy the prime minister's chair, like leaders from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Tripathi's view is contrary to his colleague and senior leader in the party P.A. Sangma, who on Monday supported Pawar for the post of prime minister.
Sangma had told reporters in Shillong that Pawar was the most development-oriented leader and there was nothing wrong if he aspired to be prime minister.
Tripathi said the UPA should contest polls together.