UPA will return to power, but PM choice after polls: Pawar


Mumbai : Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar Friday said the ruling United Progresive Alliance (UPA) will get the “magic figure” after the Lok Sabha polls and be in a position to form the next government, but added that the UPA’s prime ministerial candidate would be decided after the elections.

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Addressing the media after releasing the NCP’s poll manifesto here, Pawar said the people of the country are satisfied with the policies and performance of the UPA and hence its chances of winning the elections were bright.

Asked about the possible scenario if the UPA failed to achieve the “magic figure”, Pawar said that secular parties and secular forces would then support the UPA government.

“We shall not do anything that would prove beneficial to the opposition National Democratic Alliance,” he declared.

He reiterated that Manmohan Singh was the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress party and not the UPA. He pointed out that it was the NCP which had suggested the name of Singh as the next prime minister.

To a question, Pawar asserted that the NCP was part of the UPA and not the Third Front as is being speculated.

Referring to his skipping the rally in Orissa Friday, Pawar clarified that it was a Biju Janata Dal rally and not organised by the Third Front.

Pawar added that the NCP as a party and as a constituent of the UPA had first proposed that all partners of the Congress-led alliance must have a common minimum programme and a common leader.

“However, the Congress decided to have an alliance at the national (level),” he said.

Accordingly, different parties took different positions in various states. He, however, stressed that the NCP is with the UPA.

“The NCP is committed to bringing together all secular forces in the country,” Pawar said.

Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raising the issue of building a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, Pawar said that the issue (of Ram Temple) would not have an impact now.

Pawar also said that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is contesting all the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, would have no impact on the elections in the state.