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Manish Tewari steers clear of Sushilkumar Shinde's remark on Sharad Pawar for PM

Saturday, 11 January 2014 - 9:39pm IST Updated: Saturday, 11 January 2014 - 9:40pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: PTI

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari today sought to steer clear of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's remark that he would be happy to see NCP Chief Sharad Pawar become Prime Minister.

"I have not seen the statement of the honourable Home Minister. If at all he has articulated his opinion, I do not know in what context and in what circumstances he has said it," Tewari told reporters here.

"We have a trinity in the form of Dr Singh, Sonia and Rahul, who have given a very effective leadership in the country. Pawar is the Agriculture Minister. He heads the NCP and they are a valuable ally," he said.

Tewari took a jibe at the BJP for being a personality-centric party unlike the Congress which believes in the concept of collective leadership.

"We are not a one personality-centric party. We don't have one person who keeps on thumping his chest and thinks that he is the panacea for all problems. We have the concept of collective leadership," he said, responding to a query on Congress' prime ministerial candidate.

Over the last couple of years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi have demonstrated the concept of collective leadership through their work, Tewari said.

He said people should wait for the announcement of Congress Prime Ministerial candidate as the strategic decisions were taken by Congress President in consultation with senior party leaders.

However, he said young Congress leaders and a large number of apolitical people expressed their desire to fight next elections under Rahul Gandhi's leadership.

Asked about the speculation of Rahul Gandhi contesting Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka, Tewari said "There is a procedure in Congress for fighting elections. Gandhi, during the convention has made it clear that he wants a political system wherein common people share their opinion on whom they want to see as their candidate in their constituency."

On Priyanka Gandhi's role in the upcoming general elections, Tewari said, "Our senior leader Janardhan Dwivedi has already made a comment that Priyanka is a member of the party and has been taking part in Congress activities. So, a well-founded answer has already been given by Congress."

Asked whether the Congress has decided to give ticket to Unique Indentification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilakeni, who had shown interest to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Tewari said these decisions are taken by Sonia Gandhi in consultation with other senior leaders.

"Nilakeni has possibly presided over the greatest transformation that the country has seen in giving identity to the people who were identity-less. So his contribution to the Indian state and Indian paradigm is unparallelled and something which is unique," he added. 

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