Chennai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will not be the PM candidate for the party in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, former Finance Minister and senior party leader P Chidambaram has said. The party is not going to project anyone as its PM face, said Chidambaram.
Congress has been making efforts to form a grand alliance of regional parties to take on the BJP during the 2019 polls, Chidambaram said, adding that it has received mixed to negative response from many like-minded allies.
“We never said that we want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister. When few Congressmen were talking about it, the AICC intervened and stop such talk. We want the BJP to be ousted. In its place, we want to see an alternative government which is progressive, respects freedom of individuals, doesn’t indulge in tax terrorism, gives protection to women and children, and uplifts farmers,” he said.
Chidambaram said the decision on who will be the prime minister in the event of an opposition alliance winning next year’s Lok Sabha poll will be taken by its constituents.
The former union finance minister said the Congress’ primary focus was on removing the BJP government and replacing it with a progressive alternative.
“We want a government that doesn’t snatch human freedom, one that doesn’t intimidate citizens, one that doesn’t impose tax terrorism on traders and entrepreneurs,” he said.
Safety of women and children should be a key characteristic of such a government which would strive to ensure that farmers do not lose their livelihood, he said.
“That is our intention. The Congress party never said the prime minister should be from the party. Rahul Gandhi never said so. An alliance should take shape, that alliance should win, and the alliance parties will decide who will be the prime minister,” he added.
The former Finance Minister said Narendra Modi government is adopting “threatening tactics” to keep regional parties to form an alliance with the Congress.
“We want an alliance to be formed. The Prime minister will be decided by the alliance partners after the election,” he added.