Mumbai: As he returns home from a five-day trip to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "marketing skills" have drawn praise from Nationalist Congress Party chief and seasoned politician Sharad Pawar.
"Modi's management skills, his marketing skills, are better than other Prime Ministers," Mr Pawar told NDTV, saying Mr Modi has the ability to promote his work like few prime ministers have been able to do before him.
India, he said, shared a good equation with the US even when Manmohan Singh of the Congress was PM, but that government failed to project and promote the fact like Mr Modi had done.
He pointed out that Mr Modi's visit was strategically planned to have him spend more time in New York which has more Indians, than in Washington.
In the US, wherever Mr Modi went he was greeted by fans chanting his name. A boisterous, glitzy welcome for him by Indian Americans at New York's Madison Square Garden has been called a "rack star reception."
Mr Pawar said the visit was designed also to send a signal back home about Mr Modi's popularity.
The NCP chief's comments come amid speculation about possible political realignments with two major alliances coming apart just before state elections in Maharashtra. The BJP ditched the Shiv Sena and the NCP split with the Congress over seat sharing.
Both dumped parties, the Shiv Sena and the Congress, have alleged a growing coziness between their former allies; the NCP and the BJP have repeatedly and vehemently denied any chance of joining hands before or after the October 15 assembly elections. All four parties are now contesting the elections on their own for the first time in decades.
Mr Pawar said he did not expect Mr Modi's BJP to enjoy the same success that it did in the national elections four moths ago, when it routed his party and the Congress.
He said that was a US presidential style election - "It was BJP's Narendra Modi vs Congress Rahul Gandhi... people accepted Modi."
The NDA, he said got the Modi advantage and the UPA, and it constituents like his NCP, suffered because "we were associated with the Congress".
In the state elections, he said, "The BJP is still projecting Modi, but its different - he will not take oath."