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Praful patel steers clear over PM issue

india Updated: Feb 20, 2009 23:32 IST

Union minister and NCP leader Praful Patel on Friday dismissed moves by Samajwadi party and Shiv Sena leaders to project Sharad Pawar as a prime ministerial candidate, saying “the issue involves a whole lot of things and individual suggestions are irrelevant."

“Every party has its leader, and everyone can say my leader will become the prime minister. But we are not the principal party in national politics. The principal party is still the Congress,” Patel said.

Asked to comment on Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena leaders reportedly seeking to involve NCP president Sharad Pawar in the prime ministerial race, the Union Aviation minister said “it is not what one decides or proposes.

“If somebody asks me who is your leader for it, I will definitely say Sharad Pawar. But it is coalition politics. It is not that we decide it and we propose it. But it is a combination of so many other things.

“Therefore, the point is we (NCP) are part of the UPA. We are supporting it, and the Congress is leading the government,” Patel said.

He refused to comment on whether the leaders of the Samajwadi Party and the Shiv Sena were trying to create a wedge between the Congress and the NCP before the Lok Sabha polls.

Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi had reportedly said that his party would not oppose if NCP chief Sharad Pawar is tipped for the top job if the situation so warrants after the elections.