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No interest in becoming UPA chairperson: Sharad Pawar


New Delhi, Dec 27: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said he has no interest in becoming the UPA chairperson, dismissing speculation that he may take over the position from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Sharad Pawar

"I don't have the time or inclination to be UPA chairperson. There is no question of any such proposal," Pawar told News18.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader P Chidambaram said that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar would not want to be declared the chief of Opposition's United Progressive Alliance (UPA), as there is no such thing that exists.

"I don't think even Sharad Pawar wants to be declared as the chairperson of UPA. When these parties meet, the natural person to extend the invitation and the natural person to preside over the meeting will be the leader of the largest party; we are not selecting a prime minister. There is no such thing as the chairperson of UPA," Chidambaram told ANI.

"The UPA consists of about nine or 10 parties, the biggest in our alliance being the Congress, with roughly about 95 or 100 members in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha," he told ANI.

The statement comes amid speculations that the parties in the Opposition are in favour of Pawar taking a lead to form a formidable combine to take on the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) at the national level.

However, NCP rejected reports of NCP chief Sharad Pawar replacing Sonia Gandhi as the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The reports were termed "unsubstantiated" and "planted by vested interests to divert the attention from the farmers' agitation".

"There are unsubstantiated reports in media regarding NCP National President Sharad Pawar taking over as chairperson of UPA. Nationalist Congress party would like to clarify that there is no discussion within UPA partners regarding any such proposal. The reports appearing in the media seem to be have been planted by vested interest to divert the attention from the ongoing farmers agitation," Mahesh Tapase, NCP Chief Spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said that the NCP chief has all the qualities to lead the country. "Politics is unpredictable. You never know what will happen next," Raut said in response to reports about Pawar.

Raut told reporters that the UPA needs to expand to take on the "dictatorial" Union government. "All opposition parties should come together against the dictatorial attitude of the Central government. A weak opposition is bad for democracy," the Rajya Sabha MP had said.

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