New Delhi, June 16: As most of the opposition parties are coming together to give a "united" fight against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections scheduled in April/May next year, the question as to who will be the prime ministerial face of the "new alliance" is something everyone is asking about.
While there are many claimants to the post, the Congress for sure wants its chief Rahul Gandhi to emerge as a consensus candidate for the top job. Although most of the opposition parties are not yet ready to discuss about the issue right away as their focus is now to give a formal shape to the alliance, the question has been doing the rounds for some time now.
Tejashwi Yadav, the former Bihar deputy chief minister and leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, in an exclusive interview to News18 "gave his wholehearted backing to the Congress president as the prime ministerial candidate of a united opposition."
When asked by News18 about his opinion regarding Rahul as the PM candidate of the opposition parties, the son of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said, "Sure. I would not mind him."
He added in the same interview that there are also several opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav who are potential PM candidate.
"All these leaders are capable to become PM but personally I don't mind Rahul," he told News18. He added that for now, everyone is together and shall remain like this. "The BJP is raising all these leadership questions because it is nervous of our unity," he said.
During the campaigning of the Karnataka Assembly elections held in May, Rahul told reporters that he was ready to become the PM of the country provided the Congress gets the mandate.
However, since the time Rahul joined politics, his critics and political opponents, especially leaders of the BJP, have always raised questions about his leadership qualities.
Political analysts say that the opposition front before officially announcing its decision to fight the 2019 General elections together needs to sort out the issue of PM candidate to avoid problems if it wins the polls next year.
The unity in the Opposition was aptly highlighted when top leaders of various parties came together to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in May.
The anti-BJP forces got another morale boost when it managed to defeat the BJP in the recent by-polls held in several states. A few days ago, Rahul hosted an iftar party in the national capital and several opposition leaders took part in the event. However, many like Mamata and Mayawati did not come for the party but sent their representatives.