Rahul Gandhi as PM? Opposition parties call decision ‘premature’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rahul-gandhi-prime-minister-oppn-parties-5497729/

Rahul Gandhi as PM? Opposition parties call decision ‘premature’

So far, the topic on the united Opposition's PM face has been an elephant in the room and regional parties, including the Congress, have carefully avoided the issue in its past meetings.

From left: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, DMK president M K Stalin, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu at the event in Chennai on Sunday. (Photo credit: Twitter/@INCIndia)
DMK chief MK Stalin has pitched for Congress president Rahul Gandhi as prime minister. (File)

DMK chief MK Stalin, who has pitched for Congress president Rahul Gandhi as prime minister, has opened a Pandora’s box, with Opposition parties harbouring reservations over the premature declaration of a PM candidate. TMC and NCP, both major regional satraps, said a decision on the joint Opposition prime ministerial candidate should only be taken following a discussion after the Lok Sabha election results.

“Not only TMC but other Opposition parties, too, are of the opinion that any decision on the PM candidate should be decided only after the Lok Sabha election results. Any announcement on the PM candidate right now would be premature as it would divide the Opposition camp,” PTI quoted a senior TMC leader as saying.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP said the issue doesn’t need any further deliberation as Congress itself has declared that Opposition parties would pick their prime ministerial candidate post the general polls if they were to form the government.

“The Congress itself has declared it (the prime minister) will be decided after the (Lok Sabha poll) 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,” NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said.

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Even CPI leader D Raja said the issue required to be debated and there is a need for a consensus among secular democratic parties. “DMK president MK Stalin has proposed Rahul Gandhi should become the prime ministerial candidate in 2019. All other parties, particularly secular democratic parties, left parties will have to give consideration and deliberate on this issue. Let us see in the coming days how things are going to unfold,” Raja told ANI.

The Opposition parties argue that Rahul may have got a boost after his tri-state win but declaring him the PM candidate could play into the BJP’s hands as the saffron party has already packaged the 2019 contest as a Modi vs Rahul fight.

Even the Samajwadi Party was not in agreement with Stalin’s PM pitch and papered over the issue. “It is the mandate of the people that will decide who the prime minister of the nation will be,” Samajwadi Party leader Ghanshyam Tiwari told India Today TV.