Stalin's 'Rahul for PM' Call Makes Oppn Wary Ahead of Big Photo-Op at Kamal Nath's Swearing-In
New Delhi: A host of opposition leaders are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremonies of Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel as chief ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, respectively, on Monday.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be attending all three oath-taking ceremonies, other prominent opposition leaders who will attend are former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal, LJD leader Sharad Yadav and AAP leader Sanjay Singh.
However, Congress’ hopes of making Kamal Nath’s swearing-in yet another show of opposition unity have been dented by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s absence. There was no reason cited for Banerjee not going to Bhopal.
She has instead deputed former Union minister Dinesh Trivedi to represent the party. "I have been directed by the party chief (Banerjee) to be present at Monday's swearing-in programme," Trivedi said.
Asked whether he was carrying any message from Banerjee, Trivedi said, "There is no message as such. My going there is a message itself."
Banerjee, who had earlier floated the idea of a federal front of regional parties, has been on good terms with Chandrababu Naidu, and her counterparts from Delhi and Telangana, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrashekar Rao, respectively, apart from DMK president MK Stalin. But, the same warmth has not been seen for the Congress.
Ashok Gehlot would be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan in Jaipur around 10 am, followed by Kamal Nath as CM of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal around 1 pm and Bhupesh Baghel as Chhattisgarh chief minister around 4 pm in Raipur.
The swearing-in ceremonies come a day after MK Stalin made a dramatic vow to make Rahul Gandhi the country's next prime minister and lauded him for having the ability to defeat the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
"In 2018, on the occasion of unveiling Thalaivar Kalaignar statue, I propose, we will install a new prime minister in Delhi. We will build a new India, as the Son of Thalaivar Kalaignar, I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu," Stalin said in Chennai at a rally followed by the unveiling of a bronze statue of DMK patriarch and his late father M Karunanidhi.
Stalin’s statement, however, has found little resonance in the opposition camp with a number of opposition leaders having reservations over naming any prime ministerial nominee for the opposition bloc in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"A number of opposition leaders are understood to have reservations against naming anyone as the prime ministerial face. The SP, TDP, BSP, TMC, and NCP disagree with Stalin's announcement. It is premature. The PM name is to be decided only after the Lok Sabha results," PTI quoted a top opposition leader as saying.