NCP on Wednesday did not rule out Sharad Pawar as prime minister after the coming Lok Sabha elections as it sought to put pressure on Congress for convening an early meeting of the UPA to chart out a common strategy and to finalise seat sharing with allies.
The Pawar-led party also threatened to talk to "other secular parties" if Congress failed to get the UPA allies on board by ensuring seat sharing with constituents on the basis of their proportional strength.
"IK Gujral also became prime minister so did Chandrashekhar who received outside support from 211 members," NCP General Secretary DP Tripathi told reporters when asked about Pawar becoming prime minister.
He said NCP is aware that it does not have the numbers but the issue of prime minister depends on the political situation emerging after the Lok Sabha elections.
At the same time, Tripathi said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is the "present and the future" and it depends on Congress to decide on their prime ministerial candidates.
"Our best wishes are with him," he said when asked whether NCP would support Rahul for prime minister.
Briefing reporters after a meeting of the Working Committee, he said the party was looking forward to contest 45-50 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, including 26 in Maharashtra.