Don't know much about Rahul Gandhi's abilities: Sharad Pawar
On the eve of general elections, and having decided to hang up his boots from Lok Sabha, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar talks to Pranab Dhal Samanta on what lies ahead for him, and holds forth on today's political scenario.
Now that you won't contest Lok Sabha elections, what is ahead for you?
I have had 46 years in politics without a break. Once you are in the hurly-burly of elections, either Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha, you are morally responsible to be always there for the electorate. I spend sleepless nights if I can't pay enough attention! I feel this is the right time to enter the House of Elders. My party has two seats in Rajya Sabha which fall vacant in February. I intend to attend Rajya Sabha regularly.
As an elder in politics, what do you think of today's young MPs?
I get the opportunity to meet young MPs because of my daughter who has many friends across parties. And on several occasions, they have come to my house. I feel happy the younger generation, irrespective of party, is taking up causes. Some years ago, they chose malnutrition. They went to Bhubhaneswar, visited two or three affected districts. They met Navin Patnaik and also me. It's a good thing that youngsters are coming together on issues and not letting party rivalry come in the way. That is a good sign.
And what about Rahul Gandhi?
I don't know. I have no personal knowledge about his abilities. His family background certainly equips him with better knowledge of various situations. He can assess them better. But I personally have had no association with him.