New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel says there is nothing wrong if party chief Sharad Pawar`s daughter Supriya Sule takes over the mantle from him but the NCP is not bound to name her the successor.
In an interview to a private news channel, Patel said, "The credit for bringing Supriya Sule into politics goes more to me than to Sharad Pawar. We brought her into it because she is young and wanted to enter politics."
"So why not, just because she is the daughter of Sharad Pawar?" Patel asked.
When told this was the case with children of leaders of other parties like Mulayam Singh, K Karunanidhi and Parkash Singh Badal, Patel said, "We together will give new leadership to the NCP. We are not bound to make Supriya Sule a successor just because of her family."
Patel, also civil aviation minister, said Sule "cannot become my leader. Sharad Pawar will remain my leader".
Asked if he aspired to be the successor, he responded: "As far as the party is concerned, there are many people, I am not the only person."
The NCP leader, however, clarified that at the moment there was no room at the top and Pawar was the party chief.
"After Sharad Pawar, there are many people. Why is this question being asked? Sharad Pawar is in a good condition," he said.
When reminded that Pawar had given an indication ahead of the Lok Sabha elections that he might prefer to go to the Rajya Sabha and not contest the polls, Patel said: "At present, there is no need to think about `what after Sharad Pawar?`. Sharad Pawar is active. He is a minister at the centre. Leadership of the party is in his hands."
On whether the NCP would go it alone in the Maharashtra assembly elections slated this year, he said, "The Congress and the NCP will contest together because for the last 10 years we are running the government together."
"Whether in 2004 Lok Sabha elections or the state elections, we have contested together. Again, in 2009 we fought the polls jointly. In the centre we are together and there is no reason why we go different ways," Patel added.
When pointed out that Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh had hinted his party might go it alone in the state, the NCP leader refused to comment but maintained this was not so.
"As far as our relations with the Congress and our dialogue with them, formally or informally, are concerned, no such indications have been given to us that they would contest on their own."