As elections for five states are in offing, former Finance Minister and veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram, has dropped a bombshell on Rahul Gandhi’s ambitions for 2019. In an interview to News 18, Chidambaram reiterated that Rahul Gandhi won’t be the PM face for Congress’ in 2019 elections.
He made it clear the main agenda for Congress and other regional forces must be to ouster PM Modi, and Prime Minister’s face can be ascertained afterwards or post elections.
“We never said that we want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister. When few Congressmen were talking about it, the AICC intervened and stop 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,” Chidambaram said.
This comes days after another senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid expressed doubts on Congress’ ability to win the 2019 elections on its own. “It is difficult for the party to come to power on its own in the present situation, but opposition alliance must not be formed at the “cost of containing Congress”. The allies should also be ready to make sacrifices and adjustments for defeating the BJP in the 2019 general elections”, Khurshid had said.
Both Salman Khurshid and Chidambaram emphasized the need for stitching strong coalition parties. Chidambaram accused BJP of employing “threatening tactics” to keep the coalition of regional parties and Congress at bay.
Interestingly, earlier this month Congress President Rahul Gandhi had expressed willingness to become Prime Minister, “if allies want.” However, his expression of ambitions of becoming PM came as a contradiction of his earlier statement in London, where he had downplayed possibilities of becoming PM.
Rahul Gandhi’s ambitions can put Congress’ aim of forging a Mahagathbandhan at stake. Not only Congress leaders, but other opposition party leaders like NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and RJD have also expressed apprehensions about alleviating Gandhi scion to coalition head and later to Prime Minister.
As far as present scenario regarding coalition is concerned, Congress has been receiving snubs from parties like BSP and SP, in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and MP elections where they are fielding candidates on their own, without a coalition with Congress.