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Didi, Kejri propose Kharge’s name as INDIA bloc’s PM face

While proposing his name at the INDIA meeting on Tuesday, the duo said Kharge could be the “first Dalit prime minister” of the country.

Statesman 49NEW DELHI: Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal — both of whom said to be nursing prime ministerial ambitions — on Tuesday sprang a surprise by proposing Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s name as the Opposite alliance INDIA’s PM candidate in the 2024 elections. Sources said JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, another PM aspirant, clarified that he was not in the race for the top post.

While proposing his name at the INDIA meeting on Tuesday, the duo said Kharge could be the “first Dalit prime minister” of the country.  However, Kharge chose to sidestep queries about the proposal, saying that the alliance’s first priority is to win the Lok Sabha elections. “We have to first win, and who will be the prime minister is a matter to be decided later. First, we have to get a majority and increase our strength, then MPs will decide democratically,” Kharge told reporters, adding that any decision on the PM candidate will be taken after the elections.

On the contentious issue of seat sharing among allies, Kharge said the parties will hold talks at the state level. “Whether Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Bihar, UP, Delhi or Punjab, the issues on seat-sharing will be resolved. If any issues arise, INDIA leadership will address them,” he said. Kharge added that the parties passed a resolution condemning the suspension of Opposition MPs and will hold a nationwide protest on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said seat-sharing talks will be held at the earliest and there is no deadline. “There was no decision on a convener for the alliance,” he said.
However, another leader said Mamata proposed that seat-sharing talks be finalised by December 31.
Sources said Samajwadi Party leaders warned the Congress against forging any alliance with the BSP in Uttar Pradesh. Kharge assured them that there’s no no such plan. The meeting also passed a resolution demanding maximum use of VVPATs in the upcoming polls.

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