It was a few weeks ago that party president Rahul Gandhi was announced as the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
His ‘performance’ in the recently defeated No Confidence Motion against Modi was an eye catching one and brought him in the limelight again.
Now, wanting to leave no stone unturned in keeping Modi out of power after 2018 elections, Congress sources told journalists on Tuesday that they will support any candidate who isn’t backed by the Sangh parivar or the Bharatiya Janata Party for Prime Minister.
They were responding to a journalist’s question about whether the party will back Mamata Banerjee or Mayawati as prime minister next year.
The sources attacked the BJP and RSS attitude to women and said that the Congress will soon have more women in decision-making roles.
The Hug that caused more waves than lynchings in the BJP
Talking about Rahul Gandhi’s ‘spontaneous’ hug in the parliament, Congress leaders claimed that it was the party president’s way of thanking the prime minister for bringing him to the fore. (By heaping constant ridicule on him and continually referring to him as ‘Pappu’, which Rahul Gandhi claimed does not bother him at all.)
While Gandhi has been seen as a reluctant politician by critics and a light-weight opponent by BJP leaders, it is in fact the way he and his family is targeted by Modi and his party leaders the manner that has raised the 48-year-old Congress president’s profile in the national political game.
The Congress’s willingness to back Mamata, Mayawati or indeed any other candidate for prime minister so long as they are not part of a BJP arrangements suggests a certain firming up of the party’s policy towards strategic alliances for the 2019 election.
The number game
“Alliances in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will be the key to defeating Narendra Modi,” Congress sources said. They also assert that it will be difficult for Modi to clinch a second term if the party fails to win more than 280 seats as the current NDA allies and even leaders within the BJP are put off with the prime minister’s and Amit Shah’s autocratic style of working.