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Pawar's googly ahead of polls, says not opposed to Vidarbha state demand
Saturday August 3, 2013 6:48 PM, IANS

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar 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 told CNN-IBN news channel in an interview.

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.

"Single party ruling concept... people of India have not accepted now. They want concept of coalition. They want respective political parties to work together on minimum agreed programme and provide stability.

"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... this will be difficult for me to accept this."

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.

"It is too early to say about that. 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. I don't see the third front concept has any potential this time."

Pawar ruled himself out as probable prime minister of a coalition saying he will not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"You see, I myself am not going to contest Lok Sabha election. That decision I have taken. Secondly I know the limitations. A person who is expecting to become prime minister, he should at least get 40 MPs from his own party... my party is not going to contest even that type of numbers. So we are not expecting anything that is unrealistic."

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