New Delhi, Aug 27, 2018 : Sharad Pawar, one of the key interlocuters of the opposition, has suggested a formula to tackle the thorny issue of Prime Ministership. The party getting the maximum number of seats in the 2019 polls would claim the post, Mr Pawar said, underscoring that he was "happy" that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that he was not rushing for the top job.
"Let elections take place, remove these people (BJP) from power. We will sit together. Whichever party has got more seats can claim the prime minister’s post," Mr Pawar said. "I am happy that the Congress leader (Rahul Gandhi) has also said he is not in the race for the prime minister’s post," the 78-year-old leader added while addressing party leaders at a meeting in Mumbai.
Yesterday, the Congress chief had reiterated that he was not focused on the prime minister’s post.
"I don’t have these visions. I view myself as fighting an ideological battle and this change has come in me after 2014. I realised that there’s a risk to Indian state, to Indian way of doing things and I’m defending that," Mr Gandhi had said.
With less than a year to go for the next year’s general election, an opposition front to take on the BJP is still on shaky grounds.
Regional powerhouses like Mamata Banerjee have been vocal about a bigger role. Ms Banerjee has also made it clear that she is prepping for a national role. Mayawati’s allies have hinted at her ambition for the top job. The Congress, meanwhile, kept a low profile as a signal of its commitment to stitching up the front.
Still, earlier this month, the opposition failed the big unity test during the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman elections - largely due to what was seen as the Congress failure to co-opt the Aam Aadmi Party and the YSR Congress of Andhra Pradesh.
Indicating that he was ready to pick up the slack, Mr Pawar said he would "try to go to each state and make regional parties which are not with the BJP to join us (the opposition alliance)".
"Congress is strong in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati-Akhilesh are there. Situation is different in each state. Hence, we will have to get along with parties which are strong in each state," Mr Pawar added.