Predicting that Parliamentary polls are round the corner, Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre had become “vulnerable”, especially after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) decision to pull out from the UPA last month.

However, Mr. Pawar added that since the Congress was the majority party in the UPA, his party would respect its view on the UPA alliance’s Prime Ministerial candidate. He also made it clear that he would not be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Against this backdrop [DMK pulling out of the UPA], we have to prepare and plan for the election and I have accordingly suggested to UPA Chairperson [Sonia Gandhi] to convene a meeting to discuss this,” said Mr. Pawar, whose party has nine MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The NCP chief added that it was up to the Congress to decide the UPA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, thereby resolving the conflict by choice.

“The UPA has markedly shrunk from what it was some time back with only the solid coalition of the Congress, NCP and the National Conference remaining. But then, it is the majority party that has to take the call [on choice of PM candidate]. We will respect the majority party's view,” he said.

Incidentally, SP supremo Mulayam Singh, too, had asked his party men last month to gear up for a mid-term poll.

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