Pawar retreats, backs Manmohan as PM | india | Hindustan Times
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Pawar retreats, backs Manmohan as PM

india Updated: Mar 16, 2009 00:59 IST
Yogesh Joshi

Sharad Pawar extended an olive branch to his Maharashtra ally, the Congress, on Sunday when he said it was his party that had suggested the UPA should fight the elections together with Manmohan Singh as their prime ministerial candidate.

At western Mahasrashtra’s Ahmednagar district, where the NCP chief was to attend a party meet, Pawar told a press conference: “Even if discussion surrounding my name about prime ministerial candidate goes on, I am aware of the reality. To take responsibility of the country in Parliament, you should have requisite numbers and that is not easy.”

Pawar’s statement comes amid growing tension between the two partners after the NCP projected its leader’s name for the top job.

“Some five months back, the NCP was the only party from the UPA to take a stand and I then suggested Manmohan Singh should be their prime ministerial candidate. But the Congress had some difficulties in going to polls with its allies. Now in some states, the allies are contesting the polls against each other with their respective agendas,” he said.

Taking a dig at state Congress leaders who had threatened to fight the elections alone if the two parties failed to reach a consensus on seat sharing, Pawar said these leaders are “very big” and they can take the stand they want but I do not have that much power. “The fact is we have to live together.”