Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday refused to comment on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s remark that he would like to see the Nationalist Congress Party leader as Prime Minister.

“I am not going to contest the Lok Sabha election. You should get your hint from this,” Mr. Pawar told a press conference held here to announce Krishi Vasant, an exhibition to be inaugurated in Nagpur next month for farmers.

He initially refused to take questions on issues other than agriculture. But when reporters persisted, he gave the cryptic reply.

At an interaction with newspaper editors in Solapur on Saturday, the Home Minister said he would like to see Mr. Pawar as PM and that he entered politics because of the NCP chief, whom he considered his ‘political guru.’

PTI adds from Patna

Pawar not running for PM’s post: Tariq

A day after Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that he would be happy to see NCP chief Sharad Pawar become the Prime Minister, the NCP on Sunday denied that he was in the race for the PM’s post.

“Mr. Pawar is not running for the Prime Minister’s post,” NCP general secretary and Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Tariq Anwar told reporters in Patna in reply to a question.

“At the same time, the NCP chief has all the credentials required for the PM’s post and his experience in public life is second to none among all political leaders in the country,” he said.

Mr. Anwar, a close aide of Mr. Pawar, said “It is the number game that decides who becomes the Prime Minister and in the NCP chief’s case, he does not have the numbers with him.”

If Mr. Pawar had got the numbers in terms of MPs, he would have definitely become the Prime Minister, he said.

On Mr. Shinde’s praise for Mr. Pawar whom he had described as his “political guru”, Mr. Anwar said that the Union Home Minister’s remarks were made in his personal capacity.

Mr. Shinde had worked as a state minister during Mr. Pawar’s tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister and so his remarks praising the NCP should be seen as his respect towards the latter and nothing more, Anwar said.

On the NCP’s strategy for the general elections to be held this year, the Union Minister said that his party was seized with the issue and the same would be finalized by March next.

In Bihar’s case, Mr. Anwar said that his party was part of the UPA and it will go with whichever alliance the Congress decides to work out in the state.