Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday appeared to have made a U-turn saying his party must be given a chance if a stable government is needed at the Centre, in remarks that came a day after he had said that Congress was only keen on defeating NDA and the prime minister's post was not its primary concern.
"No, it is not true that Congress will not claim the Prime Minister's post. We are the biggest and oldest political party. If the government is to run for five years, the biggest political party should be given a chance. But what I have been saying is that while we are in the midst of elections we should not fight among ourselves. It (PM's post) should be decided by consensus," Azad told ANI here.
The Congress is not averse to supporting any regional party leader for the Prime Minister's post even if it emerges as the single largest party, Azad had said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Shimla, the senior Congress leader had said: "My party high command has already made it clear that the Congress is not averse to making a prime minister from any regional party," Azad told reporters in Shimla.
He was asked if the Congress will be ready to support any regional party leader for the PM's post even if it emerges as the largest party in a hung Parliament.
Speaking in the same vein in Patna the previous day, Azad had said the Congress will not make it an issue if the PM's post is not offered to it.
Azad's remarks assume significance as the Congress has been asserting that it would be the fulcrum of any non-NDA government, which was seen as its claim for the PM's post and had led some major regional parties to maintain a distance from it.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, seemed not to agree with Azad.
He said the Congress believes it will be the single largest party in the country, subject to final outcome on May 23.
"Naturally, the biggest political party should get a chance to lead," he told reporters here.
"All Congressmen believe that we will be biggest political party and as the biggest political party, we should be leading this country holding hand with all other like-minded political parties interested in giving a stable democratic, liberal and secular government to the country," he added.