Vacation time for Pawar!
Pawar's dilemma is that he cannot afford to desert the Congress at this juncture because he has assembly elections to face.
A vacation abroad in the midst of a sizzling summer election back home? No politician would dare to desert the field, particularly when pollsters are predicting a hung Parliament and the futures of kings and kingmakers hang in the balance.
But that is exactly what Maratha warlord Sharad Pawar is doing. He voted in Baramati on April 26, dropped tantalizing hints about how anybody could become PM in this scenario, didn't speak to the press for two days and then flew the coop. Close supporters say he is recuperating in London after his jaw surgery.
Pawar's dilemma is that he cannot afford to desert the Congress at this juncture because he has assembly elections to face in less than six months. At the Centre he could be just one among many players, and not necessarily the PM or deputy PM. He can't hope to get either job by aligning with the BJP; he might be a deputy in a Third Front formation but one needs to know how many seats he has before he can begin bargaining. In any case he will be playing second fiddle to Mulayam Singh Yadav — and that is not quite his cup of tea. That is why Congressmen are confident that he is with them to stay.