Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Saturday said that he would be happy to see Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar as the prime minister. He made this statement in a reply to a question at an open meet in Solapur.
His observation raised several eyebrows in political circles. Shinde said Pawar would have become the PM in 1992 itself, but certain factors within the Congress resulted in him being denied the prestigious post.
Even though Shinde tried to soften his observation, saying that all Congressmen wanted Rahul Gandhi to be the candidate for prime ministership, his views on Pawar gave rise to speculation in political circles.
It was Pawar who inducted Shinde into politics. Shinde was a police sub-inspector of Solapur when in the ‘70s Pawar asked him to join the Congress. Shinde quit his job and joined the Congress and remained loyal to the Gandhi dynasty. Even when Pawar quit the Congress, he remained loyal to the Congress. He was rewarded with several ministerships, chief ministership and now with the Union home portfolio.
Sources close to Shinde said his remark has been taken out of context. “What he stated was in response to a question. He was asked if he would be happy to see Pawar as the PM and he replied in the affirmative. There is nothing more to it,” said Raj Shroff, his son-in-law and Congress activist of Mumbai.