New Delhi: Congress on Friday downplayed
suggestions that Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar should
shed his ministerial responsibility in the wake of his taking
over as the International Cricket Council (ICC) President.
"If you have the passion, you can always find time," said
party spokesperson Manish Tewari in reply to a number of
questions on the issue.
69-year-old Pawar, who will now have to shoulder twin
responsibilities of being a minister and ICC President, has
been criticised even in the past that he was not not
concentrating on his job and the prices were going up.
The veteran politician and his party NCP, however,
rejected criticism and said he would be able to handle his
ministerial task with a little help from Prime Minister
"Fortunately, the ICC headquarters is in Dubai and Dubai
works on Saturday and Sunday. So, it`s a matter of two hours
flight. So, I think there won`t be any difficulty.
"Secondly I will discuss with Prime Minister about my
responsibilities and will take appropriate decision so that my
government work is not affected," he said.
He said he may ask for more hands (in the ministry). He
recalled that he had asked for three ministers (of state) but
had been given only one.
Pawar said if he seeks reduction in some of his work
some solution could be found. "I won`t allow my work in
government to suffer," he said.
Asked about Pawar`s statement, Tewari said it would be
better if the question is asked to NCP and its office-bearers.
"I am not reacting to what the Agriculture Minister has
said. It is his prerogative to talk to the Prime Minister,"
He said, "It is collective as well as differentiative
responsibilities". Tewari made the same statement a few months
back during the controversy over the responsibility for rising
prices of foodgrains and vegetables for which Pawar had come
Tewari steered clear of questions about allegations of
racism in the ICC election, which came to the fore after the
rejection of John Howard`s candidacy for the vice-President`s
post by the powerful Asian Bloc.
"We do not comment on the politics of cricket. It is
not the concern of the INC as a political party. Every
election has its own dynamics.....it is left to stakeholders
to sort out differences," Tewari said.
NCP spokesman D P Tripathi hailed Pawar`s election
saying it is a matter of national pride that an Indian has
become the President of ICC. "We should all rejoice," he said.
Tripathi dismissed as "questionable question" a query
on whether Pawar could handle the the new responsibility along
with that of the Union Minister.
"Pawar is an ICC chief, Union Minister and NCP
President. Even if some more responsibilities come his way, he
would be able to handle them efficiently," he said.