Sharad Pawar queers pitch for united Maharashtra
Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday said he favoured a united Maharashtra but would not oppose the demand for a separate Vidarbha state. ‘I am for the state, for the unity of the state. But I am also of the firm view that if a sizeable section of the society, particularly from the (Vidarbha) region want a separate state and that separate state will be a viable state, then I will not come in their way,’ he said.
Pawar, also the Nationalist Congress Party chief, was responding to a query on his stand on the renewed demand for Vidarbha state after the Congress approved creation of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. Pawar also said it will be difficult for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to attract allies if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was made its prime ministerial candidate.
‘In that situation there has to be a person and leadership which is acceptable to sizeable other parties. And from that angle it is difficult to say if BJP will get that kind of support from various cross sections,’ said Pawar. He declined to comment on Modi’s prospects. ‘That I cannot say. I can understand that there is a possibility that anybody from any state has been projected as the prime minister candidate... in that particular state, he or his party does get some benefit. But this will be the situation across India.’ Asked if he sees Modi emerging as the prime minister in a coaltion government, Pawar said: ‘I cannot say. I said that in coalition politics, very few partners, political parties will support BJP this time with this leadership.’
He also said it was too early to comment on a third front. ‘As of today, I don’t see the possibility of a third front. Ultimately if we are to form government here, either it will be Congress-led government or Congress-supported government,’ he said.