Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar sought to play down speculations of his emerging as a presidential candidate on Thursday, saying “a person with 12 MPs should not expect such an important position”.“I know my party’s strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, which is altogether 12 MPs. So, a person with 12 MPs’ support should not expect such an important position which requires a majority,” Pawar, who has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, said during an interaction with journalists at Pune.“I am a person who believes in rationalism and rational thinking,” he added.
Asked about his potential and capabilities to become the Prime Minister, Pawar said there were thousands in the country who had the potential but one also required political strength to aspire for such a position.“Capacity and potential are not sufficient in politics and one requires political strength as well. Unless and until one succeeds in galvanising political strength, I do not think one would be able to succeed,” he added.
Pawar, who dedicated the Padma Vibhushan to the farmers, said the honour was the recognition of his work by the whole nation. The Maratha strongman, who is 76 years of age and completing 50 years in politics, said, “Definitely, it is a recognition by the whole nation. I have received many doctorates and awards within India and outside for my work in various fields and I am happy that the selectors of these awards thought of me as worthy of this important award.”
On dedicating the award to farmers, he said he had a personal interest in agriculture. “I have worked in the field of agriculture for years, both in government and outside the government, and I have been running several agriculture institutes for 50 years.“
In a country like India, many professions depend on agriculture and if you want to fight poverty, then you would have to ensure that the major profession, which is agriculture, prospers. I think, if agriculture prospers, poverty will disappear,” he added.
“Throughout my career, I have concentrated on these areas and I am glad that India has become self-sufficient and an exporter of food grains and other things,” Pawar said.The NCP chief gave credit to the voters for his 50 years in active politics. “I give credit to my voters as without any campaign, they elected me in every election and I owe my success to them,” he said.