Sharad Pawar, no matter what the “rumours” twirling around him, was always unlikely to be the next President of India. Not because he would not want to be the President but simply because he would not want to lose that election. And this election was one he was unlikely to win in the absence of a consensus between the government and the opposition.
However, that consensus was unlikely, not just because Pawar would be the opposition candidate but because he clearly would not be a rubber stamp President, never mind the limitations of that office. And that is what the BJP-RSS are afraid of – the damage that Pawar could do to them even in an office that is little more than a ceremonial one.
For they are quite aware of his credentials – whatever his politics, Pawar has been a fiercely secular politician, he believes in the Constitution, is Nehruvian and he is socialist to the core. Everything in fact that is anathema to the BJP and RSS.
The BJP has also finally worked out the masterly way in which the Pawars had manipulated BJP to withdraw all cases against Ajit who had sworn himself as Fadnavis’s deputy for 80 hours in 2019. But no sooner had the BJP’s washing machine rinsed him clean, Ajit returned to his family fold. Both Fadnavis and Modi are now convinced the exercise could not have happened without the active involvement of the senior Pawar.