During an exclusive interview with NDTV, Mallikarjun Kharge, the President of the Congress party, has emphatically articulated the Congress’s stance against designating any specific individual as the prime ministerial candidate for the INDIA alliance, which is gearing up to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Kharge underscored the wisdom of first achieving electoral successes and then collectively determining the candidate through discussions.
The Congress has communicated its ongoing dialogues with all INDIA partners, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, to clarify the importance of state elections for the party. This is the reason behind the temporary suspension of INDIA bloc meetings. According to Mr. Kharge, the necessity of forging an alliance and working cohesively as a team has emerged to effectively counter the BJP.
Moreover, Mr. Kharge has affirmed that the state units of his party are opposed to forming an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). He proposed that the AAP could explore options for providing support and collaboration within the alliance, similar to how the Left parties cooperate on the national level, despite the traditional rivalry between the Congress and the Left parties in Kerala.
Mr. Kharge’s unwavering position against designating a prime ministerial candidate suggests that Rahul Gandhi is not being considered for the position of Prime Minister. Party sources have indicated that Mr. Gandhi is also not particularly keen on being projected as a prime ministerial candidate. According to Mr. Kharge, the Congress’s objective is to foster unity among all political parties to present a united front in the forthcoming general elections.