A day after NCP chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said that Rahul Gandhi should prove his mettle before becoming the prime minister, the Congress on Friday responded that its vice-president had gathered enough experience over the years.
“Pawarji is a senior leader. The Congress will not like to comment on his televised interview. But Rahul has his own experience of becoming a Lok Sabha MP for two terms,” party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said about Pawar’s remarks in an interview to CNN-IBN.
In the interview, Pawar had said that Gandhi should first gain administrative experience by becoming a minister before being made the PM.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said such doubts were not raised when late Chandrashekhar became the Prime Minister without having occupied any public office earlier.
NCP sources said Pawar’s statement was aimed at keeping options open.
“By declaring that he won’t work under Gandhi, Pawar may be aiming for a bigger role in the post-poll scenario if the Congress fails to get a dominant position,” said an associate of Pawar. Another leader pointed out that seniority is a genuine reason for Pawar’s reluctance to work under Gandhi.