Will become PM if allies want me to, says Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi, Oct 5: While the uncertainty still hangs over whether the Congress would be part of the joint opposition to challenge the NDA in 2019 elections or not, Rahul Gandhi has said that main focus would be defeat the ruling BJP-led coalition first.
Speaking at the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Gandhi said that the question about who would become the PM is something that can be decided after the NDA is defeated. Opposition parties have decided to first defeat the ruling BJP-led coalition and later decide on the prime minister, he said.
When asked if the he would take up the top post if allies want him to, he said, "If they want me, sure."
Gandhi's remark assumes significance at a time when different kinds of political alliances are being discussed ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Many feel that the opposition parties may not ally with the Congress if the grand old party pushes for Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate.
Congress on the other hand badly needs allies to forge a strong UPA-3 as its performance in the 2014 elections was dismal. So, in a veiled manner, Rahul is trying to send across a message to the other parties that the Congress may not be rigid over prime minister's post.
This can be seen as softening of Congress' stand as many Congress leaders have in the past strongly advocated for Rahul to become PM. "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," senior Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge had said in August.
Rahul's today's remark is slightly different from what he had said ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls in May. On May 8, Rahul Gandhi was in Bengaluru and he was asked if he was willing to become the PM if the the Congress gets the numbers in 2019.
If the Congress wins with the single largest majority, then why not, he had then said.