'Rahul Gandhi as PM face not acceptable to TDP'
Vijayawada, May 27: Andhra Pradesh minister Kalava Srinivasulu said on Sunday that the TDP would not accept Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of a "united front" in case it comes into being before the 2019 polls.
Srinivasulu said the TDP never had any equation with the Congress and the two parties would never join hands.
"We are 100 percent clear that the prime minister will not be from the BJP or the Congress. Rahul Gandhi will not be the prime ministerial face of a united front in case such an alternative comes into being with the support of the Congress," he said.
The remarks came days after TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu shared stage with leaders of several regional parties at the swearing-in of H D Kumaraswamy as the CM of the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka.
"After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, regional parties will play a major role at the Centre. The TDP will decide who will be the next prime minister," he said in response to a question from reporters on the sidelines of Mahanadu, a three-day annual conclave of the Telugu Desam Party.
The Congress "indiscriminately" divided the Telugu state, the minister for information and public relations minister said. "It did injustice to Andhra Pradesh. The same thing is happening under the BJP government," he added.
Andhra Pradesh has been seeking special category status from the Centra on the grounds that it is at a disadvantage, especially after the loss of capital Hyderabad to Telangana.
In March, the TDP withdrew from the NDA government over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to the state. Asked why the TDP did not pull out of the NDA government for four years, he said: "We did not withdraw the support earlier because we were dependent on the Centre. The state would have suffered a lot had we done that. We waited for fours years for the central government to make good on its promises to Andhra Pradesh."
Asked if Naidu could be projected as the prime ministerial candidate of the "third front", which a few regional parties have been mooting for some time as an alternative to the Congress and the BJP, the minister said: "Chandrababu Naidu has ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race, but the TDP will play the kingmaker."