Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar has a new champion in his prime ministerial quest. Veteran Congressman Govindrao Adik, a former Minister and former PCC chief, on Friday said Mr. Pawar could be made Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi could learn the ropes under him and then take over the top job.

Letter to Sonia

Mr. Adik, who was upset at not being given a berth in the Maharashtra Cabinet when it was expanded, told mediapersons that he had sent a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding that she take the initiative for a merger of the NCP and the Congress.

He said coalitions weakened the Congress and it was unable to give a stable government which could benefit the poor.

Mr. Pawar was more a Congressman than any other Congressman, Mr. Adik said in his seven-page letter, copies of which were sent to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, PCC president Manikrao Thakre and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Mr. Adik suggested to Ms. Gandhi that all those who left the party be taken back with honour.

He said he proposed Mr. Pawar’s name for Prime Minister as he was the most suitable candidate.

Manmohan Singh was not really a Congressman, he was in the administration and because there was little choice he was inducted into the party, Mr. Adik said.

While Mr. Adik denied he was quitting the Congress and joining the NCP, he has been meeting leaders of that party for the past few months.