Who will be India’s next prime minister if the Congress wins 2109 elections, was a question asked to Rahul Gandhi. “If they (allies) want me, sure,” he said, speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Friday.
Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, Gandhi said that the Opposition has decided to defeat the Modi government in the upcoming general elections and then choose who will handle the top post. When prodded further if he would take the mantle if the allies agree, he said: “Sure.”
Underlining the difference between the Congress and the BJP, he said “India is a partnership between all its people” and the Congress “didn’t believe in binaries”. Talking about Mayawati’s decision to not have an alliance with the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi said the move will not impact the party’s prospects in the states. He, however, did not rule out an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I don’t see the BSP alliance impacting us much in Madhya Pradesh,” Gandhi said. He also expressed confidence of winning the state elections — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh — slated to be held this year.
Adding that an alliance would have been better, Gandhi said he was “more flexible than some state leaders.” “The alliance in state and the alliance in the Centre are very different…Mayawatiji has indicated that. We were pretty flexible in the state, in fact, I was more flexible than some of our state leaders,” Gandhi said, suggesting that both the parties might come together for an alliance during the Lok Sabha elections. “I think in national elections parties will come together particularly in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
Gandhi, who is spearheading the campaign against the BJP at the Centre, has expressed confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not be re-elected to the post next year. Earlier, while campaigning for Karnataka elections, Gandhi had suggested that he would be the prime minister if the Congress emerged as the single largest party after the Lok Sabha elections. “Yes, why not,” he had said, reported PTI.
Gandhi took the reins of the Congress last December from his mother and now UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. He has been elected at a time when the Congress is at its weakest, electorally and politically, in its 133-year history. From helming governments in nineteen states 24 years ago, the party today is in power only in three states and one Union Territory — Punjab, Mizoram, Karnataka and Puducherry.