Curated By: Saurabh Verma
Last Updated: December 19, 2023, 19:31 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge (Image: PTI file)
According to top sources, Banerjee and Kejriwal suggested Kharge’s name as PM candidate for the upcoming general elections. However, Kharge turned down the offer, saying let’s win first and this thing will be decided later
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday proposed that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge should be projected as I.N.D.I.A. bloc’s prime ministerial face against PM Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The suggestions from the opposition leaders come as the fourth meeting of I.N.D.I.A. bloc took place in New Delhi today.
According to top sources, Banerjee and Kejriwal suggested Kharge’s name as PM candidate for the upcoming general elections. However, Kharge turned down the offer, saying let’s win first and this thing will be decided later.
“Our priority is to win (elections). We will think about winning before deciding the name of the Prime Minister. If there will be no MPs, it makes no sense talking about the Prime Minister. We will work unitedly to win a majority first…,” the Congress president said.
#WATCH | After the conclusion of the INDIA Alliance meeting, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge says” Our first priority is to win (elections). We will think about winning before deciding the name of the Prime Minister. If there will be no MPs, it makes no sense talking about… pic.twitter.com/11rf9YoCOz— ANI (@ANI) December 19, 2023
MDMK (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) MP Vaiko, who was present in the meeting, said there was no opposition to that suggestion of making Kharge the opposition’s PM face.
Congress leader PC Thomas said, “During the suggestions that were made, I think it was Mamata (Banerjee) who said that it will be good for INDIA (alliance) to project a Dalit PM (face). But there was no discussion on this as such.”
Sources also said that the alliance will kickstart a joint campaign for the 2024 General Elections on January 30.
Congress MP and general secretary KC Venugopal said it was a very successful and fruitful meeting. “Everybody opened their mind and spoke, there was a little criticism here and there because we are 25-26 parties. The main focus was to finalise the seat sharing. A lot many things were discussed but everything can not be decided today itself. Seat-sharing discussions should be started immediately, that is what was discussed…,” he said.
The meeting began at the Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi with Kharge, Gandhis, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in attendance besides NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
Among the leaders present at the meeting are former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, DMK’s T R Baalu, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, CPI’s D Raja, NC’s Farooq Abdullah, E T Mohammed Basheer, E K Elangovan, RSP’s N K Premchandran, Kerala Congress (M)’s Jose K Mani, NCP’s and Supriya Sule and JMM’s Mahua Maji, among others.