I don't know if Rahul Gandhi is a real leader: Pawar

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has made it clear over the weekend that he is not part of the Rahul Gandhi for prime minister chorus, which was the most prominent outcome of the recent Congress 'chintan shivir' or brainstorming conclave.

Maharashtra strongman Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is allied to the Indian National Congress – a party he once belonged to – at the centre and in the Maharashtra government. However, he has frequently voiced independent views.

"If the Congress has decided to give chance to 'generation next', it is a good idea. But I have hardly had any interaction with him till now and hence am in no position to comment on his work and effectiveness," he told newspersons outside a Vidarbha development conference late on Saturday.

The veteran leader said he was sure that the UPA formation would remain intact till 2014.

About friction with the Congress in Maharashtra and at the centre, he said it was not unusual. "It's like a domestic fight in a family, nothing serious. Both the Congress and the main opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party have internal problems; but I do not see any (rival) political combination coming up soon. At least for the NCP there are no alternatives," Pawar said.