Pawar wants PM to reduce his ‘burden’

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who is in charge of the crucial portfolios of agriculture, consumer affairs and food and public distribution in the Union Cabinet and has been under fire from a section of Congress leaders who have questioned his ability to handle all three of them simultaneously, on Monday threw the ball back in the court of the Congress.

Mr Pawar met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday and requested him to reduce his burden ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which begins July 26.
Mr Pawar, who has been under attack for the past year over his perceived inability to handle three portfolios, has also been facing a whispering campaign of late following his election as International Cricket Council president. Critics have wondered aloud whether Mr Pawar would be able to successfully deal with both governmental and cricketing responsibilities.
Looking hale and hearty after his meeting with the PM, he clearly indicated he could, and also said he wanted to devote more time to strengthening his party. He told reporters: “I met the Prime Minister and requested him to reduce my burden.” Later, answering questions, he said: “I have been after the Prime Minister for the last six months, telling him please relieve my burden... I want more time with my party and ICC and all that stuff... For so many years, I have been in government. This year, I will complete 44 years in Parliament (and the Assembly). I think I am in government for 25-26 years. Mujhe rahat milna chahiye (I need relief).” He said the PM told him they will meet again.
If the PM accepts his plea, he would have to give these portfolios to NCP nominees as the Congress will find it difficult to take back ministries given to allies.

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