In Subtle Message to Partners, Ghulam Nabi Azad Says Cong Has No Issues If It Doesn't Get PM Post
File photo of senior Congress leader and former J&K Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Patna: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has said a consensus on the candidate for the top post before the results of the Lok Sabha elections are announced would be welcome but the party would not make it an issue if the prime minister’s chair was not offered to it.
The statement is being seen as a subtle hint to allies as well as prospective partners of the Congress just ahead of the final phase of elections, given that the party has earlier tried to position its chief Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister if it makes a decent showing in polls. This despite the fact that Gandhi has repeatedly denied being interested in the post. While leaders such as MK Stalin, Tejashwi Yadav and even Arvind Kejriwal have said they are ready to support Gandhi, stalwarts such as Sharad Pawar feel West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati are better suited for the role.
Azad, also the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said the sole aim of the Congress was to oust the NDA government. “We are in the last phase of elections and I can say on the basis of my experience during campaigning across the country that neither BJP nor NDA is going to return to power at the Centre. Narendra Modi is also not going to become the prime minister for the second time... Non-NDA non-BJP government will be installed at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections," he told reporters here.
Backing down on its demand for Gandhi as PM, Azad said, “We are not going to make it an issue that we (Congress) will not let any other (leader) to become the PM, if it is not offered to us (Congress).”
Azad said the BJP has been “thoroughly exposed” after coming to power at the Centre in 2014 as it has followed its ideology of "creating hatred and divide" in the society.
He said the BJP government's policy and principle have been exposed as the party of "capitalists and industrialists". Azad alleged that the BJP government has followed a "pro-rich" policy.
Azad also condemned the smashing of the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a noted philosopher and a key figure of Bengal Renaissance, during the clash between BJP and TMC supporters during Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday and said stern action should be taken against those responsible for it.