Thane, May 30: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has stuck to his position that if NCP chief Sharad Pawar was keen on contesting the presidential election, he should join the National Democratic Alliance.
Athawale's comments, made at Dombivili in Thane on Monday after similar remarks last week in Nagpur, come against the backdrop of Pawar's name being earlier discussed by the Opposition camp for the presidential post.
Athawale, a veteran politician from Maharashtra, had also said that he would not be contesting the polls.
When reporters 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." Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
"If a 'Marathi manoos' becomes the president, I will be happy," said the chief of Republican Party of India , an ally of BJP.
"We will support him if he fights as an NDA nominated candidate, but he should not contest as a UPA candidate," he said.