Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, caught in a presidential style election driven by the BJP since 2014, today sidestepped the issue on whether he would be the Prime Minister if the opposition comes to power. At an exclusive interview to NDTV, his first to a television channel in more than a year, he said, "It is not my place to say what are the wishes of the people of India".
"I respect the people of India and I am subservient to their wishes," added the leader who counts listening to people and respecting different opinions as one of his party's strengths.
Since he entered active politics in 2004, Rahul Gandhi has been seen as a Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress because of his family legacy. And once Narendra Modi, the powerful chief minister of Gujarat, was named the Prime Ministerial candidate, the stage was seen to be set for a tough, personality-driven contest.
But this time, with more than 20 opposition parties putting up a joint front against the BJP, the question of Prime Ministership has been practically taboo. All the key leaders, from Mamata Banerjee to Mayawati, while seen as harbouring aspirations for the top post, have denied it on paper.
But the opposition's official position - that a Prime Minister candidate can be chosen after the election - has been seen as its biggest weakness. The BJP has jeered that the opposition has no leader to match the stature of PM Modi and the Prime Minister has repeatedly taunted the aspirations of what he calls the "mahamilavati" leaders.
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