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Prematurely naming Rahul as PM candidate will divide Oppn : TMC

Prematurely naming Rahul as PM candidate will divide Oppn : TMC
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Kolkata/ Mumbai: A day after DMK president M K Stalin proposed Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the Opposition's prime ministerial candidate, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership on Monday distanced itself from the statement, saying any such announcement would be premature.

A TMC leader said that the decision on who should be prime minister should only be taken following a discussion among the Opposition parties after the Lok Sabha election results are announced. He added that any unilateral announcement could send out a wrong message.

"Not only the TMC but other Opposition parties, too, are of the opinion that any decision on the PM candidate should be decided only after the Lok Sabha election results. Any announcement on the PM candidate right now would be premature as it would divide the Opposition camp," said a senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity.

Stalin had on Sunday made a strong pitch for the Congress chief as the prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition, saying the Gandhi scion had the ability to defeat the "fascist" Narendra Modi government. Distancing of the TMC from the Rahul-for-PM view is politically significant as, after the Congress and the AIADMK, the TMC is the third largest party from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha with 34 MPs. It has 13 MPs in the Rajya Sabha.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who was invited at the swearing-in ceremony of Congress leader Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, did not attend the program and senior party MP Dinesh Trivedi attended it instead.

The NCP, too, on Monday said that the Congress has declared that Opposition parties would pick their prime ministerial candidate post the general polls if they were to form the government; so there is no need to debate the issue.

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