Mumbai: A day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that any anti-BJP party with maximum seats can stake claim for the post of Prime Minister, the Congress on Tuesday said it would strive to ensure that party president Rahul Gandhi becomes the PM.
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said there was no formal proposal from the NCP yet about a 50:50 seat-sharing formula in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Maharashtra has 48 parliamentary constituencies. Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge also made a pitch for the like-minded parties to put up a united show to stop the BJP from forming a government and said there should be “no ego” in that.
“What Pawar said is his opinion. I am the general secretary of my party. We are trying to ensure our party gets maximum seats and Rahul ji becomes the prime minister…we want our party to come back to power and our leader becomes the PM,” Kharge was quoted as saying in a party statement. He made the remarks after nearly five-hour-long meeting here with the party’s Maharashtra district chiefs in view of the next year’s general elections. He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of implementing the ideology of the RSS. “We are fighting against the ideology which is vicious from the country’s point of view,” he added.
MPCC chief Ashok Chavan said, “The Congress is positive towards forging an alliance with the like-minded parties in Maharashtra. Discussions are on over forming a grand alliance with NCP, BSP, PWP, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, RPI (Kawade), RPI (Gawai), Left parties and other like-minded parties.” “There is no formal proposal from the NCP about 50:50 seat sharing. The alliance would be formed respectably,” he said. According to the party sources, Congress’ rank and file welcomed Pawar’s remarks at the meeting chaired by Kharge given the probability that the Congress would emerge as the “single largest party from among the opposition parties” in the election.
“It is implied that the Congress would emerge as the single largest party and can stake claim for the prime minister’s post,” a leader said, requesting anonymity. The leader said that opinions of the party’s district presidents were heard in view of the election and also forging alliance with the NCP for the polls. “The party would also work out its policies for the urban and rural areas in the coming few days,” the source said. The party is all set to fan parts of the state region-wise beginning its drive in Western Maharashtra’s Kolhapur on August 31 to tell people about the “failures” of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the state.
Expressing happiness that Gandhi has made it clear he was not driven by prime ministerial ambitions, Pawar had yesterday said the aim should be to vote out the BJP and added that any party in the Opposition getting maximum seats after the 2019 polls could claim the top post. The Congress president had two days ago said he was not driven by an ambition to become the prime minister. “I don’t have these visions. I view myself as fighting an ideological battle and this change has come in me after 2014. I realised that there’s a risk to Indian state, to Indian way of doing things and I’m defending that,” Gandhi had said.