New Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI/File)
New Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday said Rahul Gandhi never insisted on the prime minister's post amid reports that several Opposition leaders have expressed their reservations after DMK president MK Stalin pitched for the Congress president as prime ministerial candidate.
"I am not sure if people will have a problem... Rahul Gandhi never said he insists on the prime minister's post. This has got to be discussed among all allies without any pre-condition and the Congress has to go along with that," NDTV quoted Kamal Nath as saying.
The former Union minister and nine-time MP added: "This will be a post Lok Sabha poll issue, if all the leaders decide on one name, that will be the name... it is rather premature to say this now. In one or two months things will emerge more clearly in this."
Speaking at an event organised to unveil a statue of former Tamil Nadu chief minister K Karunanidhi in Chennai on Sunday, Stalin made a strong pitch for Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, saying the Gandhi scion had the ability to defeat the "fascist" Narendra Modi government.
"In 2018, on the occasion of unveiling Thalaivar Kalaignar statue, I propose, we will install a new prime minister in Delhi. We will build a new India, as the Son of Thalaivar Kalaignar, I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu," Stalin said.
However, leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the TrinamoolCongress, the National Congress Party are understood to have reservations over naming any prime ministerial nominee for the Opposition alliance for the 2019 general elections.
"A number of opposition leaders are understood to have reservations against naming anyone as the prime ministerial face. The SP, TDP, BSP, TMC, and NCP disagree with Stalin's announcement. It is premature. The PM name is to be decided only after the Lok Sabha results," a top opposition leader told news agency PTI.
Nath, 72 took over as Madhya Pradesh chief minister on Monday. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and other allies such as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati skipped the swearing-in ceremony. Nath, however, denied that this was the reason Banerjee, Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav stayed away from the swearing-in ceremonies.