Industrialist Rahul Bajaj on Saturday said he wants to see Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar become the next President of India.
“I have a dream. I wanted to see Sharad Pawar as the next President of the country,” Bajaj said at the NCP chief’s 75th birthday celebrations at the Nehru Centre on Saturday. The industrialist is seen to be close to Pawar.
Bajaj’s statement is significant because there have been talks that Pawar wants to become the President.
The Maratha leader inviting politicians across political parties for the event is being seen as a potential sign. The buzz became louder when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Union ministers from the BJP were invited to Baramati to enjoy Pawar’s hospitality.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who also attended the celebrations, had several words of praise for the NCP chief. “If he [Sharad Pawar] is not sleeping, he gives sleepless nights even to his friends,” Uddhav said.
While his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said, “Even if he [Sharad Pawar] praises me I get scared.”
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Narayan Rane called Pawar a ‘moving university’ for leaders and young politicians. Governor CV Rao said, “Sharad Pawar is not rajneta (politician) alone, he is also a rajguru (political mentor).”
The NCP chief stressed the need to strengthen democracy. “This is the magic of democracy: a man can reach these heights,” Pawar said.
The event was also attended by chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited Mukesh Ambani, revenue minister Eknath Khadse, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, industries minister Subhash Desai, water resources minister Girish Mahajan, human resources development minister Vinod Tawde, actors Sulochana and Nana Patekar, scientist Vijay Bhatkar, writer Madhu Mangesh Karnik, among many others.