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Parliament needs people like Bajaj: Pawar

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June 08, 2006 11:48 IST
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar has shrugged off the Congress leadership's concerns over the NCP's support for Rahul Bajaj, who has filed his nomination to fill the Rajya Sabha seat left vacant by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan, and declared that Bajaj's contribution to Maharashtra is immense and the state needs business icons like him.

Also Read: Bajaj decision casts shadow over Congress-NCP ties

Pawar -- India's agriculture minister, who is visiting Washington, DC for talks with senior US officials -- said there is nothing to fear in terms of communal politics despite Bajaj being supported by the BJP and Shiv Sena against Congress nominee Avinash Pande, saying Bajaj's father (Kamalnayan Bajaj)and grandfather (Jamnadas Bajaj were both Congress stalwarts.

"His father was a three-term Member of Parliament from the Congress party. His grandfather was a colleague of Mahatma Gandhi and a member of the Congress Working Committee. I don't think Mahatma Gandhi would associate with communal forces," Pawar said.

In an interaction with reporters at the Indian embassy after participating in a meeting of the US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative, Pawar said, "I don't know about Avinash Pande, but we have decided to help Rahul Bajaj."

"His contribution in my state in the automobile industry (Rahul Bajaj is the chairman of scooter major Bajaj Auto) is quite high and we do feel that people like him should be there (in Parliament)," Pawar said, "He is not a party candidate, he is an Independent candidate."

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC