On INDIA bloc's PM face, Pawar says ‘no consequence if not named’; BJP takes dig | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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On INDIA bloc's PM face, Sharad Pawar says ‘no consequence if not projected’; BJP takes ‘split’ dig

Dec 26, 2023 01:40 PM IST

Pawar's remark came when some parties of the bloc reportedly concurred to project Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's name as PM candidate.

There are no consequences if a prime ministerial face is not projected ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar said when asked about a potential candidate for PM from the Opposition-led INDIA bloc. He referred to the 1977 general elections and said then PM Morarji Desai's name was nowhere mentioned before the polls, even when the government was formed under the newly-formed Janata Party.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Sharad Pawar(Hindustan Times)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Sharad Pawar(Hindustan Times)

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“In the 1977 elections, no face was projected for PM and after the election, Moraraji Desai was elected for the PM post. Desai's name was nowhere before the elections and in fact, a new party came into existence. After the polls, Moraraji Desai was made PM. There are no consequences if a face is not projected. If people are in the mood for change, they will take a call to bring about that change,” Pawar said.

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The former Union minister's statement came came when some parties of the bloc reportedly concurred to project Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's name as PM candidate. However, the INDIA bloc is yet to announce a name officially.

Mamata floated Kharge's name

Last week, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she had proposed Kharge's name as a potential PM candidate on behalf of the alliance during the fourth INDIA bloc meeting in New Delhi. The proposal was reportedly backed by several parties, including AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is mostly found out-of-sync with the Congress.

Nitish ‘not upset’ over name proposal

Nitish Kumar, the Bihar CM known to have convened the INDIA bloc, on Monday rubbished speculations of him being disappointed after Kharge's name was floated during the meeting.

“I felt no disappointment (maayusi)....no resentment (naaraazgi)…At the meeting the issue (of naming a leader came up). I made it clear at the outset that I was not interested. Then another name was proposed, I said it was okay with me,” he said.

BJP weighs up ‘split’ in coalition

Referring to Pawar's statement, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said, "Even Congress wasn’t happy about Kharge ji name pushed by didi" (CM Banerjee). “Once again the SPLIT is out in the open,” he added.

Earlier, Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who cleaved away from the erstwhile NCP with his faction, said there was a “huge difference” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kharge. "There is a huge difference between Modi and Kharge. People of India will support Modi again and everyone should come together to back his leadership," he said.

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