Selection of UPA leader after polls: Pawar (Lead)

New Delhi, April 23 (Inditop) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said Thursday that the “election and selection” of the leader of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would be done after the parliamentary polls. Alliance partners Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan said they were open to the Left joining the coalition.

“Election and selection of leader will be done collectively by the UPA,” Pawar said in reply to a question on whether Manmohan Singh will be the prime minister after the polls.

He was speaking in Maharashtra’s Baramati parliamentary constituency, where his daughter Supriya Sule is contesting. Pawar is fighting the polls from the Madha Lok Sabha constituency.

Asked about the UPA partners contesting elections separately, Pawar said: “Those who have been together in the UPA might be contesting separately but after elections we will sit together. We want to work under the umbrella of the UPA.”

Pawar didn’t rule out an alliance with the Left parties. Asked about the question whether the Left parties were considered untouchable by the Congress, Pawar replied: “I don’t think so.”

Lalu Prasad, leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), another UPA member, said in Patna Thursday that the alliance would form the next government and “if we fall a bit short, we have kept open a window for the Left”.

Paswan, chief of Lok Janashakti Party and a key ally of the UPA, echoed Lalu Prasad’s view.

“We have not opposed the Left. We want the Left to come with the secular parties,” Paswan said in Hajipur in Bihar.