‘Want to be away from parliamentary politics’

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said the time had come to hang his boots from parliamentary politics and make way for younger leadership though he would remain active politically and continue to head the party.

"Basically, I don't want to come to Parliament... There is no reason because this year I completed 46 years continuously in Parliament and Maharashtra Assembly," he told reporters, adding that it was time to make way for others. Pawar's remarks came a day after his party spokesperson D P Tripathi said he was PM material.

"I will continue as head of the party. I will work for the party but I want to be away from parliamentary politics or government politics. I do not know what will happen tomorrow, this is my personal view," Pawar said.

Dismissing questions about his successor, Pawar maintained that the NCP would decide on future leadership, adding that there were "many good people" in the party including his Number 2 and Union minister Praful Patel. To a question whether his daughter fits the bill, Pawar maintained that at this juncture she was only focussed on her parliamentary career.

He ruled out any merger between his party and the Congress. "NCP has good relationship with the Congress but we want to preserve our separate identity," he said.

Pawar also ducked questions on Rahul Gandhi's projection as PM candidate, saying, "How can I say? I do not know him as a person. I don't know his capacity and response of the masses.... It is Congress party's internal decision."

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