A day after DMK president M K Stalin proposed the name of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, the Trinamool Congress leadership on Monday distanced itself from the statement, saying any such announcement would be premature.
A TMC leader said the decision on who should be the prime minister should only be taken following a discussion among the Opposition parties after the Lok Sabha election results were announced. He added that any unilateral announcement could send out a wrong message.
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"Not only the TMC, but other Opposition parties, too, are of the opinion that any decision on the PM candidate should be decided only after the Lok Sabha election results. Any announcement on the PM candidate right now would be premature as it would divide the Opposition camp," a senior TMC leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Stalin had on Sunday made a strong pitch for the Congress chief as the prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition, saying the Gandhi scion had the ability to defeat the "fascist" Narendra Modi government.
Distancing of the TMC from the Rahul-for-PM view is politically significant as, after the Congress and the AIADMK, the TMC is the third-largest party from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha with 34 MPs. It has 13 MPs in the Rajya Sabha.
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West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who was invited at the swearing-in ceremony of Congress leader Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, did not attend the program and senior party MP Dinesh Trivedi attended it instead.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha mocked the TMC for dreaming that their party leader would be the next prime minister.
"Leaders of the TMC are dreaming that a leader from their party would be the next prime minister. The problem with this so-called Opposition alliance is that everybody is a PM aspirant. The people of this country understands everything," Sinha said.
The state Congress leadership, too, has been vocal against the TMC for not giving credit to Gandhi for the massive victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.
The Congress had last week asked if Trinamool leaders were having "sleepless nights" fearing that their dream of Banerjee becoming the prime minister might not fulfilled.