Sharad Pawar’s ambition to be the Prime Minster is ‘no secret’ and it seems to be the worst nightmare of the Congress. However, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Saturday said that he would be happy to see Pawar as the Prime Minister.
Describing Pawar as his ‘political guru’, Shinde said that Pawar was the reason that he entered politics. The Home Minister made this comment while interacting with the editors of vernacular newspapers at Solapur. “Everyone has ambition. He has been trying to become the Prime Minister since 1992,” said Shinde and added that Pawar has been a victim of Delhi politics.
Shinde’s adulation of Pawar should not come as a surprise as their association dates back to the 70s when the former was an sub-inspector and latter a minister. During 70s, Shinde who was in his early 30s had a remarkable personality that was noticed by the ministers on whose protection detail he was posted. It was during the VIP protection that he had met Pawar who seemed to impressed with the potential of Shinde.
Pawar had recommended his mentor Y B Chavan to give an opportunity to Shinde in the 1972 Assembly elections from Karmala in Solapur. However, despite all efforts the then Karmala MLA Tayappa Sonawane managed to ensure his ticket and thus delaying the debut of Shinde. About six months later Sonawane died and Pawar used all his influence to give Shinde the Congress ticket for the bypolls. Shinde won the byelections.
Also in 1978, it was due to Pawar’s recommendation that Shinde was made a cultural minister in Maharashtra and Shinde had sided with Pawar and joined the Reddy Congress after the emergency.
Shinde was also given charge of the minister in 1978 when Pawar broke the coalition government of the Reddy Congress and Congress(I) and became the youngest Chief Minister at 37 years.
There was strong speculation about Shinde joing Pawar when he had founded the NCP. However, he did not join and continued in the Congress.