Stalin proposes Rahul as PM candidate in 2019 elections

Stalin proposes Rahul as PM candidate in 2019 elections

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, DMK chief M K Stalin, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with swords that were presented at the public meeting after unveiling of bronze statue of M Karunanidhi in Chennai on Sunday. DH Photo

Charging Prime Minister Narendra Modi with possessing “traits of a sadist”, DMK president M K Stalin on Sunday vowed to overthrow the BJP Government and proposed his Congress counterpart Rahul Gandhi for prime ministership in the 2019 general elections due in May.

Stalin made the proposal with top Opposition leaders like N Chandrababu Naidu and Pinnarayi Vijayan by his side at the unveiling of a bronze statue of late Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, which the DMK converted into an “anti-BJP” gathering.

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With the public endorsement, DMK has become the first party in the country to name Rahul Gandhi for the top post even as the Congress has not formally named him as its prime ministerial face. Stalin’s proclamation comes just days after the Congress breached the BJP’s fort in Hindi heartland by winning the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The DMK chief proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name for the PM’s post is politically significant since the Opposition bloc has so far shied away from naming its face, apparently to avoid the contest from being converted into a clash of personalities, which could prove advantageous to the BJP.

Always on the other side of the political spectrum for decades, the event also brought Sonia Gandhi and Naidu together – they were seated next to each other and were seen exchanging pleasantries.

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Speakers at the public meeting at the DMK headquarters exhorted the need for Opposition parties to come together and defeat the “fascist” and "Nazist" BJP. Naidu, Rahul and Sonia recalled Tamil Nadu’s role in cobbling up coalitions at the Centre and asked the people to return the DMK-Congress alliance with all 39 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 polls.

Recalling his late father Karunanidhi’s statements asking late Indira Gandhi to provide a “stable leadership” in 1980 and exhorting Sonia Gandhi to lead the country in 2004 that spawned the UPA, Stalin proposed the candidature of Rahul Gandhi for 2019 polls.

“As the son of my father Karunanidhi, I propose that we will install a new prime minister in Delhi. I propose Rahul Gandhi for the post. He has the ability to defeat the fascist and Nazist Modi government. We will work to strengthen the hands of Rahul Gandhi,” Stalin said, followed by a thunderous applause from the audience.

In his strongest ever attack on Modi, Stalin accused him of possessing “traits of a sadist” who couldn't find time to visit Cyclone-affected areas in Tamil Nadu, while tweeting condolences messages to those died in unfortunate incidents in far-away countries like the United States.

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“The government led by Mr Modi has turned India’s clock back 15 years. If he is allowed to rule another five years, the clock will turn back another 50 years. I have never used words like this (sadist) for any leader and I use it because the Prime Minister has no concern for Tamil Nadu. Would Modi afford not to visit states like Maharashtra if a tragedy of such magnitude (cyclone) had hit? Why such callous attitude towards Tamil Nadu?” Stalin asked.

Rahul Gandhi, in his speech, said the Opposition would not allow the “destruction” of institutions like the Election Commission, Supreme Court and Reserve Bank of India. “We will all stand together in the fight to overthrow the BJP Government,” he said.

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