Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Monday reiterated that NCP chief Sharad Pawar should join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if he was keen on contesting the upcoming presidential election.
It was for the second time that Athwale advised Pawar to join NDA if he was keen on occupying the highest constitutional post in the country.
Athawale had given the same advice to Pawar last week in Nagpur and he reiterated it on Monday evening while speaking at Dombivili in Thane.
Athawale is making these suggestions against the backdrop of Pawar’s name being earlier discussed by the Opposition camp for the presidential post.
However, Pawar, a veteran politician from Maharashtra, had said that he would not be contesting the polls.
When reporters here asked the Union Social Justice Minister on who should be the next president, Athawale said, “This decision lies with the NDA. If Pawar wants to become the president, he should join the NDA.”
He also said that Pawar shares a good relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If a ‘Marathi manoos’ becomes the president, I will be happy,” said the chief of Republican Party of India (Athawale), an ally of BJP.
To another question, the Union minister said Pawar may not become the candidate of the opposition parties.
During an interaction with reporters in Nagpur on Saturday, Athawale said, “Only the NDA candidate will win the election. Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he should discuss with the PM and BJP president Amit Shah about his candidature.”
“We will support him if he fights as an NDA nominated candidate, but he should not contest as a UPA candidate,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)