- Tejashwi Yadav said Rahul Gandhi had all qualifications to be next PM
- Onus on Congress and Mr Gandhi to take along all other parties: Mr Yadav
- Not just polls, will fight other battles with allies too: Rahul Gandhi
Tejashwi Yadav, seen as the political heir of Bihar leader Lalu Yadav, today made another deft tweak on the question of the united opposition's Prime Ministerial candidate. Rahul Gandhi, he said, was qualified, but there was a tough condition.
The united opposition, a patchwork of parties with disparate ideologies, is yet to take off despite multiple meetings. One of the deal-breakers is the question of projecting a single candidate for the top post - a matter BJP chief Amit Shah had capitalized on with his "six Prime Ministers in Six days" comment.
So far, except for MK Stalin, the chief of Tamil Nadu's opposition DMK, no one has ventured to name anyone for the top job. Mr Stalin had named Rahul Gandhi, triggering weeks of friction within the opposition, which insists that's a question that can be tackled after the election results.
Tejashwi Yadav, who in the middle of last year, had also named the Congress chief, had backtracked and hedged his bets, saying there were "many candidates". But today, at the formal launch of the opposition campaign at a rally in Patna's Gandhi Maidan, he made his position clear.
"You have all the qualifications to be the next PM, abut onus also lies in you and the Congress party to take along all the other parties," Tejashwi Yadav said, sharing stage with Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders and Chief Ministers, including Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot and Bihar leaders Jitan Ram Manjhi, Sharad Yadav, among others
The question of "taking along" other parties is a challenging one, given that powerful regional leaders like Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee are not ready to yield any space to the Congress.
Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have kept the Congress out of the alliance in the state, making it necessary for the party to contest all 80 seats in the state.
In Bengal too, the Congress might have to fly solo, with leaders Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and the Congress being at loggerheads. Ms Banerjee has made her views clear about regional leaders playing a lead role on the national stage.
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