Harish Khare, The Hindu‘s deputy editor based in Delhi, has termed Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar‘s suggestion that the ruling United Progressive Alliance should contest the next general election together as a collective entity, as “most practical”:
“First, it instantly resolves the Congress’ central dilemma: choice of the prime ministerial mascot. Under the Pawar formulation, the status quo re-constitutes itself. Manmohan Singh remains the prime ministerial mascot, Sonia Gandhi the UPA chairperson, and Rahul Gandhi gets another breather to get his act together. Above all, Sonia remains the captain, third umpire as also match referee….
“When all is said and done, the UPA represents a very acceptable moderate face of the Indian political opinion. It can answer the nation’s need for a centrist, liberal, middle-of-the-path, plural and secular governing arrangement. If the UPA holds together, as per the Pawar formulation, it can bargain its way into an expansion: with Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and possibly with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. Above all, a consolidated UPA group will be best suited to produce stable and purposeful governance in New Delhi.”
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