The NCP today virtually ruled out possibility of its chief Sharad Pawar contesting presidential elections, scheduled to be held this July. Speaking to reporters here, NCP general secretary D P Tripathi also played down Congress leader KV Thomas' call for merger of the two parties, saying his party is there to "emerge and not merge". "Pawar is our party president, head of our Parliament party. Now, there is no question (of Pawar being in the race to be the next President). "There could be several other leaders who can contest (the polls)," Tripathi said responding to a query if Pawar is in the race for the post. Tripathi noted the ruling parties are falling short by 15,000 votes for the presidential polls and sought to wait to see if they want to field a consensus candidate (along with opposition). "If they decide to field a consensus candidate, all parties (including opposition) will think over it.
It depends on what their approach is going to be. There is still lot of time, different parties will think over it," he added. Having assumed the office in 2012, President Pranab Mukherjee's term in the Rashtrapati Bhavan is scheduled to get over this July. Tripathi further dismissed Thomas' call for a merger, but maintained the NCP will "continue to co-operate" with the Congress. Thomas had yesterday suggested that Pawar and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee merge their parties with the grand old party to take on the BJP.
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