New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Veteran politician and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said he is not in the prime ministerial race and will not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"I am not going to contest Lok Sabha election. That decision I have taken," Pawar told CNN-IBN when asked if he was hoping to be the prime ministerial candidate.
"I suppose, I go to Rajya Sabha, that is possible. I may not contest a direct election because I contested 14 elections - this is my 46th year in parliamentary and state legislature without single day's gap.
"So enough. That is why I (have) decided not to contest. But I might come in Rajya Sabha. Nothing wrong with that."
He explained why he was not in the race to be a prime minister.
"There might be good friends in every cross-section of society but unless and until some respectable number is there, one should not expect," Pawar said.
"But expecting the highest position without enough numbers has no meaning. I am a realistic politician," Pawar, the agriculture minister in the Manmohan Singh government.
Pawar started his political career with Congress when he first entered the Maharashtra assembly in 1967. He has been chief minister of the state three times.
The 72-year-old has served 46 years in India's parliament and the Maharashtra assembly. He has held many key posts in the cabinet including the ministries of defence and food.
He came quite close to becoming India's prime minister in 1991 after the assassination of prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. But the Congress named P.V. Narasimha Rao.
In 1999, he quit the Congress and formed the NCP along with Purno Sangma and Tariq Anwar. But the NCP and Congress formed an alliance in 1999, and have been together since then.