The united opposition suffered its first major blow as leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Party told the Congress that its president Rahul Gandhi cannot be the Prime Minister if an anti-Modi alliance comes to power. Articulating the longstanding ambitions of its party supremo, the party said that nobody other than Mayawati has the mettle to stop the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah victory roll and that the Congress president should give up aspirations for the PM’s post due to his mother Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins.
The message for the Congress came during the first workers’ conference to chalk out the party’s strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2019. Addressing the conference, BSP national co-ordinators Vir Singh and Jai Prakash Singh said it was “high time that Mayawati became the prime minister of the country”, and that she was the only one who could take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported Hindustan Times.
Asserting that Mayawati had emerged as a powerful politician after playing a key role in making HD Kumaraswamy the chief minister of Karnataka, Jai Prakash Singh said that “Mayawati is the only ‘dabang’ leader” who can stop the Modi-Shah’s winning juggernaut.
“She is not only a towering Dalit leader but also has the support of all the communities. Time has come when she should be made the PM after the 2019 Lok Sabha election,” he said.
The leader wasn’t sparing to Congress president Rahul Gandhi who has voiced his willingness to take on the role of the Prime Minister if his party emerges as the single largest party in the general elections. Singh said Rahul looks more like his mother than his father. “And his mother is a foreigner, thus he can never be PM.”
The remarks come less than two months after a rare display of bonhomie between UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati at the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru. Crucially, the comments castigating the apparent PM face of the Congress could also prove a setback to alliance talks for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections scheduled for later this year.
While neither the Congress nor Mayawati have commented on the remarks by the BSP leader, the assertion of Mayawati’s PM bid should worry the Congress which is trying to stitch together an umbrella alliance to dethrone Modi. Karnataka was the first success it tasted on this model but the fissures have already begun to show.
Kumaraswamy has stated on more than one occasion that his party, the JD(S), is the younger alliance partner and is at the mercy of the coalition. The tension between the two ruling alliance partners was also visible in the run-up to the state budget, which Congress’ Siddaramaiah tried to stall. Just two days ago, Kumaraswamy shed tears before cameras to drive home the point that he was under pressure from the Congress on several fronts.
Going forward, this could be just one of the many challenges that the Congress will have to contend with as it enters polls in several state assemblies and the Lok Sabha.