NEW DELHI: A day after DMK chief M K Stalin proposed Congress president Rahul Gandhi as Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate in 2019, many other opposition parties flagged their reservations saying it was premature to talk about it.
Any decision on the PM candidate should be taken after the Lok Sabha elections, they said. The Trinamool Congress said there was a consensus among the non-BJP parties that any announcement on the PM candidate at this juncture would divide the opposition camp.
“The broad understanding reached among opposition parties on the issue of name of PM was to take it up after elections,” said party MP Derek O’Brien. Stalin proposed Rahul’s name on Sunday at a function to unveil DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s statute at party office in Chennai.
Several opposition leaders were present on the occasion. In the opposition camp, many senior leaders harbour prime ministerial ambitions.
Congress sources cited the recent remarks of Rahul that the opposition’s focus was to defeat the BJP unitedly in 2019 and the issue of prime ministerial nominee could be decided after the polls.
Veterans in the party, including MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, expressed similar views. Nath told a TV channel that Rahul had never insisted on the top post and the issue would be discussed with the allies without any pre-condition.
Azad evaded a direct reply to a media query and said the issue would be dealt with after the elections. Citing previous coalition governments, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was in the nature of Indian democracy that a formation comes into existence post elections.
“The united front government in 1996, NDA in 1998 and UPA-I in 2004, all came into existence after the elections. What proceeds now is unity of secular forces to ensure that an alternative secular government is formed at the Centre. We will decide the formation post-elections,” Yechury said.
According to sources, TDP, NCP, SP and BSP disagree dwith DMK chief and called it premature.
“The Congress itself has said that the issue will be decided after the results. When Congress and other like-minded parties themselves have talked about it, there is no point in debating the issue now. All parties will take the decision after polls,” said NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik.