Union minister Ramdas Athawale, whose RPI(A) is a constituent of the BJP-led NDA dispensation, on Friday told visiting BJP president Amit Shah that he would be happy if NCP chief Sharad Pawar becomes the next president, provided he should join the NDA first. The Social Justice minister on Friday met Shah and shared his views on issues like the NDA’s nominee for the upcoming presidential poll and the possibility of the mid-term elections in Maharashtra. “I would be happy if NCP chief Sharad Pawar becomes the president, but he should join the NDA first,” Athawale said in a statement.
“I assured Shah that there is no chance of mid-term polls in Maharashtra. At this juncture, the Shiv Sena would not withdraw its support to the government. Many MLAs do not want snap polls,” he stated. Shah on Friday began his three-day Mumbai visit during which he will also meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Last month also Athawale had batted for Pawar as a nominee for the presidential polls. However, Pawar, a veteran politician from Maharashtra, had said that he would not be contesting the polls.
Earlier, Pawar’s name was being discussed by the Opposition camp for the top constitutional post. The speculation of early polls in Maharashtra resurfaced after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ statement on Wednesday that the BJP is ready to face mid-term elections.