Chennai: Revealing why he did not reiterate his proposal of projecting Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate from the Opposition for the Lok Sabha polls this year, when he addressed the rally in Kolkata on Saturday, DMK president M.K. Stalin said the situation in West Bengal was very different from what it was in Tamil Nadu.
Brushing aside speculation that he was re-thinking on his proposal, Mr Stalin said he did not repeat his endorsement of Mr Gandhi “as the situation is very different in West Bengal.” When he made the announcement in Chennai, the media questioned why he had said so. “Now when I didn’t reiterate, the media is asking why I didn’t repeat it,” he said.
He said, “What happened in Chennai was at a DMK meeting. We had the right and said so accordingly on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu that people here expect Rahul to become Prime Minister. What’s wrong in it? It is the wish and aspiration of the people of Tamil Nadu. But, in West Bengal, they have decided to finalise it after the election. It is their wish.”
The DMK leader was responding to criticism from several quarters while speaking at a marriage function in the family of his party’s Sholinganallur MLA Aravind Ramesh near here on Sunday.
Just a month ago, Mr Stalin had proposed Mr Gandhi’s name during a function to mark the unveiling of DMK stalwart and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi’s statue. Asking Mr Gandhi to give the nation “good governance” and “defeat the fascist” NDA government, Mr Stalin had appealed to all Opposition parties to strengthen the hands of the Congress president and “save the nation.” His remarks, however, caught many in the Opposition by surprise.
On Saturday, while sharing the stage with leaders of 21 political parties, including the Congress, at the ‘United India’ rally in Kolkata, Mr. Stalin did not repeat his ‘Rahul for PM’ call, and instead confined himself to the common opposition theme of dislodging the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
Though his decision to refrain from uttering Mr Gandhi’s name in Kolkata could be seen as a move to placate host West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was said to be unhappy over his “premature” pitch for the Congress chief as PM, his silence nevertheless drew instantaneous criticism in TN with the BJP questioning his intention and accusing him of following dual policies....