It looks like the Congress is not ready to announce its chief Rahul Gandhi as the next prime minister candidate. The party is understood to have taken the decision to keep the non-Bharatiya Janata Party unity intact.
As Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Benerji and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati have entered the race for the next Prime Minister post in the Opposition, the Congress wants to wait till the elections without naming Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister candidate. The Congress believes that naming Rahul ahead of the elections would split the Opposition, which might go in favour of the BJP.
“The prime target of the Congress is to prevent BJP winning the election and Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister for one more term. This would happen only with the unity in the Opposition. The Congress wants to protect the unity in the opposition till the battle is over,” a senior leader from the Congress said.
Rahul Gandhi is understood to have accepted to follow the Karnataka experiment even in the national capital after the elections. The Congress in Karnataka, with majority MLAs on hand had offered the office of the chief minister to Janata Dal (Secular) and made its chief H D Kumara Swamy as the chief minister. The Congress is now doing a back seat driving here just to keep the BJP out of power.
The party now wants to sacrifice the seat in the national politics just to keep the BJP out of power. It is for this reason, the Congress is willing to support the consensus candidate for the prime minister post, that too after the elections. It is ready to back the candidature of Mayawati as its first choice, while Mamata Benerji would be the second choice. However, Mamata Benerji had scored a point over Mayawati with former prime minister Deve Gowda backing her candidature.
With these developments, the Congress wants to wait and watch without naming Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister candidate. It is to be seen how better this strategy would help the Congress to strip the BJP of power and prevent Narendra Modi staying back in the prime minister office after the 2019 elections.