Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin proposed the name of Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate for UPA in the coming general elections. Stalin made the proposal while addressing an event to inaugurate the life-size statue of M Karunanidhi at the DMK headquarters. Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present at the occasion, along with other UPA leaders.
DMK President MK Stalin in Chennai: I propose we’ll install a new Prime Minister in Delhi. I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu. He has got the ability to defeat the fascist Modi govt pic.twitter.com/Is9kzzNtDk
— ANI (@ANI) December 16, 2018
Speaking at the event, M K Stalin said, “From the soil of Tamil Nadu, I propose the name of Rahul Gandhi for the prime ministerial candidate. I propose we’ll install a new Prime Minister in Delhi. I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu. He has got the ability to defeat the fascist Modi government.” Attacking Modi government, the DMK leader said, “In the five years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule, the country has gone 15 years back. If we give another chance to him, surely the country will go 50 years back. PM Modi is behaving like a king, that’s why we’ve all come together to safeguard democracy and country.”
The event organised to inaugurate the statue turned out to be a show of strength of UPA after Congress victory in assembly elections. Other than the Gandhis, other UPA leaders present in the event included West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, Andra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, and several other high-level politicians from several parties. Movie star turned politician Rajinikanth also attended the program.
Stalin proposing Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister candidate is significate since no other UPA constituent has openly supported the Congress president as the unanimous candidate from the coalition. Several leaders of UPA themselves fancy themselves as the prime ministerial candidate, and for that reason, UPA is unlikely to announce an official candidate before elections. Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Naidu and Shard Pawar are among the top contenders among UPA leaders. Even in Congress party, not everyone is sure about Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate. Two months ago former union minister P Chidambaram had said that Congress won’t project Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate in 2019 elections. Several senior Congress leaders think they can become Prime Minister if UPA comes to power, in case there is no consensus on Rahul Gandhi among the coalition partners. Some party leaders also hope to become Manmohan Singh of Rahul Gandhi, as the Congress president has not shown any intest in governance and administration so far.
Conceding that he may not be supported by all the allies, Rahul Gandhi had said earlier that while he would like to become the prime minister, the party was open to supporting any other candidate not supported by RSS.
After the announcement of M K Stalin, it will be interesting to how the leaders of Congress party and other UPA partners react to the development.