Nominate Manmohan Singh as PM candidate: Pawar to UPA

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New Delhi, May 29 (UNI) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has thrown his weight behind Dr Manmohan Singh as the UPA's next Prime Ministerial candidate to take on the NDA in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

''If we fight together with Manmohan Singh as our leader, I am sure the results would be different,'' he said in an interview to Aaj Tak's 'Seedhi Baat' programme to be telecast on June 1.

Asked about the reasons for the defeat of the UPA, parties in the Assembly elections in the past few years, Mr Pawar said the UPA unlike the NDA (who fight elections with L K Advani as their leader), does not project one leader.

The UPA fight against its own allies (at the Centre) in the State Assembly elections, he said, adding this had led to the debacle of the UPA parties in the recent polls.

In the coming Lok Sabha elections, Mr Pawar said if the UPA decided to nominate one leader and fight elections, results would be very different.

On the third front, he ruled out any possibility of the NCP joining any such coalition. ''It is very difficult to form a government at the Centre without the support of either the Congress or the BJP. There cannot be any viable alternative for forming the government without the support of these two parties. We are not interested in joining the third front.'' Mr Pawar admitted that the inflation was quite high, but defended the government, saying the production of agricultural commodities had also broken the earlier records.

''Earlier, the farmers would not get the right price for the foodgrains but now they get it. However, the price rise is still on a lower side, if we compare it with other countries.'' Mr Pawar, also the BCCI President, brushed aside the speculation that the IPL would be played twice a year. ''We have just one window from ICC per year. The calendar is ready for next years.

So there is no scope,'' he added.


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