For the second time in nine months, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday spoke about his prime ministerial aspirations, asserting he was ready for the top post, sparking ridicule from the ruling BJP which said he should first try to win state elections.
“Well, it depends....It depends on how well the Congress does in the election....I mean, if it emerges as the biggest party, yes,” Gandhi said, when asked during an interaction in Bengaluru if he would be the next prime minister after the next Lok Sabha elections.
Gandhi, who also said that the opposition unity would not allow the BJP to remain in power, was speaking at a function where he launched Samruddha Bharat Foundation.
In an interaction at the Berkeley University in the US in September last year, Gandhi had said he was “absolutely ready” to be the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress in the 2019 general elections.
The BJP took potshots at Gandhi over his remarks, saying the Congress president, who is harbouring “lofty dreams” despite his party’s losing spree, should first try to win state elections. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said while it is Gandhi’s right to “dream” about becoming the prime minister, even Congress’ allies were not accepting him as their leader. He reminded Gandhi that after he became Congress vice president, “his party lost 13 states and after he took over as party president, it has lost five states and Karnataka will be the sixth one.”
NCP said there was nothing wrong in Gandhi’s statement. “If people decide to entrust the Congress with the job of ruling the country, he will be the prime ministerial candidate,” NCP national spokesman Nawab Malik said.
Meanwhile holding her first poll rally in two years, Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government of discriminating against Congress-ruled Karnataka, and questioned his slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.