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UPA needs the Left Front, says Pawar

April 23, 2009 17:39 IST

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday sought to keep the doors open for Left parties in the post-poll scenario and said the United Progressive Alliance will decide its prime minister after the elections.

"I honestly feel that this time we require the blessings and support of the Left parties. That is why from the first day, I am consistently saying to all my colleagues in the UPA that let us maintain good rapport with the Left," Pawar said.

He was responding to a question about his views on receiving Left support if the UPA required it for forming a government after the elections.

"They have been supporting us. The credit goes to the Left also that we were able to give the country a stable government. The Left is the only section which will never support a communal outfit," he told reporters after casting his vote in Baramati, Maharashtra.

The Maratha strongman also refused to toe the Congress line on the question of the next prime minister, saying a decision on the UPA PM can be taken only after a meeting of its allies. "Congress has every right to declare Manmohan Singh as the prime minister. (But) when you take a decision on behalf of the UPA, you will have to sit together and decide."

"It is premature at this stage to discuss this issue," Pawar said when asked whether he still continued to be in the race for prime ministership.

"UPA partners will be able to resolve the leadership issue to offer a stable government,"he said. The NCP supremo said he was confident that the Congress-NCP-Republican Party of India alliance in Maharashtra would win a majority of the 48 Lok Sabha seats.

Pawar said he will hold discussions with leaders of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and Lok Janshakti Party, which are contesting against the Congress in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, to get them back into the 'umbrella of UPA'.

Asked about NCP rebels in Western Maharashtra, Pawar said it was confined to only one constituency (Kolhapur) and the party would romp home there. Pawar is contesting from the Madha Lok Sabha seat in Solapur district. He is registered as a voter in his hometown Baramati.

His daughter Supriya Sule refused to comment on the talk of Pawar's prime ministerial prospects in the post-poll scenario, saying she was not qualified to discuss these things. "I am at the moment concentrating on ensuring maximum voting in Baramati," she said.

A steady flow of voters were seen in Baramati where Supriya is contesting as the NCP candidate, opposed by Kanta Nalawde of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In Pune, Congress candidate Suresh Kalmadi and in Solapur Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde cast their votes early in the morning.

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