Zee Media Bureau
Solapur (Maharashtra): In a setback for the Congress ahead of its crucial January 17 session where party vice president Rahul Gandhi is likely to be named the prime ministerial candidate, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Saturday said that he would be happy to see Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar as the prime minister.
Speaking at an event here, Shinde said Pawar, the chief of Nationalist Congress Party – a key UPA constituent – has been the victim of politics at Delhi.
The Home Minister said Pawar has been in the PM race as early as 1992. He further credited the NCP chief for his entry into politics.
It may be noted that Pawar was earlier part of the Congress, but broke away from the national party on the issue of Sonia Gandhi`s foreign origin issue.
Pawar has made it clear that he will not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections due in May. Observers say the NCP chief is eyeing the Rajya Sabha route to enter Parliament.
With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declaring that he will not be the PM if UPA returns to power after the May elections, it has become almost certain that the Jan 17 session could be used to declare Rahul Gandhi`s elevation as Congress` PM candidate.
Shinde`s remarks contradict the Congress stand and will surely not go down well with the top party leadership.