Amid growing clamour in the BJP for Narendra Modi to spearhead the party's challenge in the next Lok Sabha elections, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today likened the Gujarat strongman to an "inflated balloon" that would "burst" soon.
"In my political career spanning 40-50 years I have found that more a balloon is inflated the sooner it bursts," he said.
Pawar, also Union Agriculture Minister, was asked to comment on the buzz in the BJP over Modi becoming chairman of its campaign committee for the general elections that would firmly pitch him as party's prime ministerial candidate.
When asked whether he endorsed Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's view that retirement age for politicians should be capped at 65 years, Pawar said, "In politics, it is the people who decide when a politician should resign."
He, however, said he stuck to his decision not to contest elections.
"I am not going to contest elections but I am not retiring from politics," he said.
'PM is right, politics and sports should not be mixed'
NCP president Sharad Pawar today endorsed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's view that politics and sports should not be mixed, saying he never did it during his long association with sports bodies.
"I have been associated with sports for many years but never brought politics into sport. Prime Minister is right when he says that politics should not be mixed with sports," he told a news conference.
Pawar was asked to comment on the raging spot-fixing and betting controversy which has rocked Indian Premier League with even team owners coming under a cloud.
Pawar, a former president of the Indian Cricket Board as also the game's topmost governing body ICC, however, refused to make any comment on the ongoing crisis in IPL.
"Right now I am not associated with BCCI (so I should not comment). I may be with some sports body in the future," the NCP leader said.
Pawar, also a Union minister, is reportedly planning a comeback as a cricket administrator by becoming president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
"It is not proper for me to comment. I only hope that politics and sports don't get mixed," the Prime Minister had told the media on his way back to India from a visit to Japan and Thailand on May 31 when asked whether government was contemplating to intervene following the spot-fixing scandal.
'No possibility of third front government at Centre'
NCP president Sharad Pawar today said there is no possibility of a third front coming to power at the Centre in the next Lok Sabha elections.
"I don't see the possibility of a third front (alliance of non-BJP, non-Congress parties). There will be no government (at the Centre) without the help of either Congress or BJP," he told reporters here.
Asked about his prime ministerial ambitions, the 72-year- old Maratha strongman maintained he is a realistic person and has his feet firmly on the ground.
"I can't dream of becoming prime minister by (NCP) contesting 22 Lok Sabha seats and winning about eight or nine," the union minister said.
On the possibility of projecting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, he said it was an internal issue of that party.
"The matter has not come up for discussion in UPA co-ordination committee meetings," Pawar said.
'I may be with some sports body in future'
NCP President Sharad Pawar on Friday fuelled further speculation on getting back into cricket administration when he said that he may be "in some sports body in the future".
Amidst speculations that he may contest the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) elections to make a comeback into BCCI, he told reporters that, "right now, I am not associated with BCCI (so I should not comment). I may be with some sports body in the future."
At the height of the recent spot-fixing scandal in IPL before BCCI President N Srinivasan was forced to step aside till pendency of the inquiry, there was speculation that Pawar may contest the MCA elections.
As per rules, one needs to represent a BCCI affiliated unit to take up an office-bearer's position in the country's governing body for cricket. The BCCI AGM is scheduled for September where there is a possibility of an election.
Pawar also said that he endorsed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's view that politics and sports should not be mixed, saying he never did it during his long association with sports bodies.
"I have been associated with sports for many years but never brought politics into sport. Prime Minister is right when he says that politics should not be mixed with sports," he said.
Pawar declined to comment on the raging spot-fixing and betting controversy which has rocked Indian Premier League with even team owners coming under a cloud.