Congress president Rahul Gandhi has found more support as Opposition’s prime minister candidate, even as some of the parties remained reluctant. Despite fissures in their alliance with the Congress, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has said that his party, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), is committed to supporting Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. "My part's decision is we want to support Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidate. This is our commitment and it remains so," NDTV quoted Kumaraswamy, who heads a coalition government with the Congress in Karnataka, as saying.
The JD-S leader said that his father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda was also of the same views. He also clarified his earlier statement that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was an able candidate for the top post, saying his comments were taken out of the context.
“I said among regional parties, there are several able leaders there, other than the BJP. Why not Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee... But our party is committed to installing Rahul Gandhi as prime minister," he said.
Kumaraswamy said that the Congress president had matured as a politician and expressed confidence that he is able to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I have confidence he can take on PM Modi. Modi-ji speaks well, his presentation is good, he uses social media but what is his achievement in the last four years,” the Karnataka CM told NDTV while terming the prime minister “only a paper tiger”.
Earlier, DMK president MK Stalin had proposed Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate for the coming Lok Sabha elections. However, after Stalin’s remarks, Opposition parties ducked the question and said that this issue should be decided only after the election results.
Kumaraswamy’s backing for the Congress is chief is crucial and comes at a time when their alliance in Karnataka is facing troubles. Congress, which is the bigger ally, had given the chief minister’s post to JD-S leader Kumaraswamy. However, there have been allegations against the Congress that it was pressurising the JD-S on various occasions to make their case.