Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has categorically denied all reports of Rahul Gandhi’ being chosen as the prime ministerial face of the party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In an interview to Tamil News18 on Monday, the former finance minister said the Congress has not yet declared its PM candidate and will only do so after an alliance has been formed to defeat the BJP, which is its main objective right now.
“We never said that we want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister. When few Congressmen were talking about it, the AICC intervened and stopped such talk. We want the BJP to be ousted. In its place, we want to see an alternative government which is progressive, respects freedom of individuals, doesn’t indulge in tax terrorism, gives protection to women and children, and uplifts farmers,” he said.
“We want an alliance to be formed. The Prime Minister will be decided by the alliance partners after the election,” he stated.
Chidambaram said the Congress was focusing on overthrowing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre and usher in a progressive government that does not take away human rights, does not threaten people and does not indulge in tax terrorism against traders and entrepreneurs but provide security to women and children and give a fair and remunerative price to farmers for the farm produce and to farm workers.
Earlier this month, at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, Gandhi was asked if he would be the PM if the Congress wins the 2019 elections. “If they (allies) want me, sure,” he had responded,
Before that, Gandhi, while campaigning for Karnataka elections, had suggested he could be the prime minister if the Congress emerged as the single largest party in 2019. “Yes, why not,” he had said, PTI had reported.
In August, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, when asked who would be the prime ministerial candidate of the proposed Grand Alliance, had said whichever party has more candidates elected to the Lok Sabha would decide who the PM face is.
“I keep telling people that there is no need to project anyone… Let the elections take place. Our aim is to defeat the BJP. Whichever party has more candidates elected to the Lok Sabha can then decide who the PM face is,” Pawar had said.