Days after M K Stalin created ripples within Opposition circles by proposing Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate for 2019, the DMK chief Sunday clarified that he was talking about the “aspirations of people of Tamil Nadu”.
“I had said this about Rahul Gandhi in Chennai, what was wrong in it? It is the wish and aspiration of the people in Tamil Nadu. But in West Bengal, they have decided to finalise this after the election. It is their wish,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Addressing an event in Chennai in December to unveil the statue of his father, K Karunanidhi, Stalin had proposed the “candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu” as the new prime minister. Asking Rahul to give the nation “good governance” and “defeat the fascist” NDA government, Stalin appealed to all Opposition parties to strengthen the hands of the Congress president and “save the nation”.
DMK President MK Stalin: Yes I had proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name, in Chennai’s DMK rally, as the next PM. It is very funny that when I said this, media asked me why you said this but yesterday when I did not say this the same media is saying that why you did not say this. pic.twitter.com/vaURiW8tss
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2019
His remarks, however, caught many in the Opposition by surprise. Sources had said that other parties, such as the SP, BSP, TMC and NCP, harbour reservations over declaring a PM candidate so early on. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP had said the issue doesn’t need any further deliberation as the Congress itself has declared that Opposition parties would pick their prime ministerial candidate post the general polls if they were to form the government.
In the mega opposition rally held in Kolkata on Saturday, the DMK chief called the 2019 elections as the “second freedom struggle”. “We will stop this poison of Hindutva and radical Hinduism from spreading. Our call is to defeat Modi and save the country,” he said. Appreciating Mamata Banerjee, Stalin described her as an “Iron Lady”, and said that the Modi-Shah duo feared to enter Kolkata because of her leadership.