Congress will not insist on Prime Minister’s post: Azad
Sonia said to have reached out to potential allies for meet on govt. formation
The Congress is not averse to offering the post of Prime Minister to the leader of a regional party, amid reports that former Congress president Sonia Gandhi has reached out to potential allies for a meeting on May 23 to discuss government formation in case of a hung verdict.
“My party high command has already made it clear that the Congress is not averse to making a leader from any regional party the Prime Minister,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters in Shimla on Thursday. His statement comes barely 24 hours after he had said the Congress “will not make an issue” if the post was not offered to the party. “We are not going to make it an issue that we [the Congress] will not let any other [leader] to become the Prime Minister if it is not offered to us,” Mr. Azad said late on Wednesday evening in Patna.
“We are in the last phase of the election, and I can say on the basis of my experience of campaigning across the country that neither the BJP nor the NDA is going to return to power. Narendra Modi is also not going to become the Prime Minister for the second time,” he said.
His comments are being viewed as a sign of the Congress’s flexible approach towards the leadership question, as who will be the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate could be the biggest hurdle to non-NDA regional parties coming together.
Apart from Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati expressing her desire, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is a front-runner. She has also been in touch with Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who too has projected himself as one of the contenders though the TRS has never been part of any of the Opposition meetings.