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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

DMK’s backing of Rahul is a sign of things to come

Five months may be a long time in politics, but the Congress will be keen to heighten the momentum it has built over the past few months.

editorials Updated: Dec 19, 2018 07:27 IST

Hindustan Times
The DMK President MK Stalin on Sunday gave a ringing endorsement to Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for prime ministership.
The DMK President MK Stalin on Sunday gave a ringing endorsement to Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for prime ministership.(PTI)
         

The Congress President Rahul Gandhi could not have asked for a better year-end present. After morale boosting electoral victories in three states, both present and potential allies are suddenly reassessing their stance for the forthcoming general elections of 2019. At an event to unveil the statue of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in Chennai, the DMK President MK Stalin on Sunday gave a ringing endorsement to Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for prime ministership. Asserting that the DMK would take the lead role in installing Mr Gandhi as prime minister, Mr Stalin praised Mr Gandhi’s leadership. Drawing parallels to his father’s invitation to Mr Gandhi’s grandmother Indira to assume leadership of the country, Stalin said the circumstances now were similar.

So far, except for a Janata Dal (Secular), which is dependent on Congress to ensure survival of the coalition government in Karnataka, or an all-weather ally like Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar, there were not many vocal backers of Mr Gandhi as the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. In fact, some key opposition leaders such as West Bengal CM and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee or Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu, the Telugu Desam chief, who harbour their own aspirations for the top job, have repeatedly said that a leader would be chosen only after the results are known. So it must have enthused Congressmen that a powerful regional satrap like Stalin, who will play a key role in determining the outcome of 40 Lok Sabha seats, has given this unsolicited, ringing endorsement of Mr Gandhi’s candidature. One of the key advantages that PM Modi’s BJP has enjoyed is the TINA (there is no alternative) factor. After the victory in the three Hindi heartland states, the Congress will be hoping that Mr Gandhi can be an alternative.

Five months may be a long time in politics, but the Congress will be keen to heighten the momentum it has built over the past few months. The Congress will hope that more opposition parties will pick up the DMK’s cue.

First Published: Dec 19, 2018 07:26 IST

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