After his suggestion that Congress president Rahul Gandhi should be the prime ministerial candidate of a united opposition found few takers within many parties, DMK chief MK Stalin has defended his proposal.
Most opposition parties said the issue should be settled only after the Lok Sabha elections next year, if an opportunity arises for such a grouping to form the government. Opposition leaders were also apprehensive that naming a candidate could prove counter-productive.
Stalin said in a late night statement on Monday that the Congress chief had the strength to dislodge the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime at the Centre and sought the support of friendly secular parties for his proposal.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief appealed to other opposition parties to “strengthen the hands of Rahul to guard democracy”. Stalin said joining of forces was required to trounce the BJP in the Lok Sabha election next year. He said it may have led to a debate among friendly parties.
“In a democracy, solutions have emerged only from debates… these deliberations too will cause good outcomes,” he said in a letter to his party cadre.
Stalin’s comments on Gandhi on Sunday came during an event in Chennai to unveil the statue of his father, the late M Karunanidhi. The event was attended by Gandhi, his mother and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan.
Tamil superstar-cum-politician Rajinikanth and former Union minister and disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha also attended the event.
The comments also come in the background of the Congress’ recent wins over the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
Stalin attended the oath-taking ceremonies of the Congress chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh earlier on Monday, which became a platform to showcase opposition unity ahead of the 2019 general election.
The DMK chief said his statement on Monday was based on the rationale that projecting Gandhi alone would be appropriate to bind secular forces. His statement, Stalin said, was made keeping with the legacy of Karunanidhi, who was for taking ideas forward at the opportune and appropriate time.
He also reiterated that the DMK under the leadership of his father had taken the lead at the right time during the previous Lok Sabha elections to propel the Congress towards victory.
The DMK chief once again accused the BJP government of being against pluralism, pushing the economy into a shambles, hurting communal harmony and being indifferent to Tamil Nadu.
First Published: Dec 18, 2018 13:51 IST
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