Lok Sabha Election

‘Congress never announces PM candidate before polls’

Congress party never announced its Prime Ministerial candidate before the Parliamentary elections, said senior party leader and former Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram.

Responding to a query on Chief Minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami harping on the lack of clarity about the their Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr. Chidambaram said that there was no rule that the PM candidate should be announced before the election. Morarji Desai, V.P. Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda were elected Prime Minister only after the election, he pointed out.

When his attention was drawn to the fact that the Congress had not got a majority to form a government on its own on those occasions, Mr. Chidambaram said his party never announced its PM candidate before polls. “I have been in the Congress for about 50 years. In no election, the Congress, in its election manifesto or through announcement, identified anyone as a PM candidate. It is different that people assumed it (the PM candidate),” he told the media here on Saturday.

Even in 2014, late Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa did not say who AIADMK’s PM candidate was. “She only raised the question whether it was Modi or Lady. The AIADMK now has deviated from the path of Jayalalithaa (by announcing Mr. Modi as its PM candidate),” he said.

‘Mutual admiration’

That the AIADMK had been claiming that only Mr. Modi could be an able Prime Minister is only because the AIADMK and BJP had formed a mutual admiration society. “Instead, people should say that,” he said.

On the BJP repeatedly claiming that India had not seen any development under the 50-year-rule of the Congress, he said the India’s per capita income was ₹270 and the average lifespan of Indians was 32 years in 1947. “Is it still the same now,” he asked.

“If they say that India should have development much more in the last 70 years, I do accept it. But, not (the allegation) that India has not at all developed. They are turning a blind eye to the facts,” the former Union Minister said. The size of below poverty line (BPL) families that was 70% during Independence, despite a manifold population growth, had become 20%. A major contributor for this is the Congress,” he said.

When asked about any good thing about the Modi government, he said the fact that it continued with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme and the midday meal scheme, introduced by the Congress, is good. “Otherwise, I don’t find anything new executed by BJP government,” he said.

Reacting to BJP leader L.K. Advani saying that those who opposed the BJP were not seen as anti-nationals, Mr. Chidambaram said that it was a condemnation of Mr. Modi.

Party State unit president, K.S. Alagiri, and national secretary, Sanjay Dutt, were present.

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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 5:39:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/congress-never-announces-pm-candidate-before-polls/article26759136.ece

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