“Rahul Gandhi shouldn’t be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate…”: Shashi Tharoor tells INDIA

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has felt the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) alliance should decide on the Prime Minister only after the Lok Sabha elections, turning down the idea of pitching in his party colleague Rahul Gandhi as the candidate for the top post.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Photo Courtesy: UNI

Speaking to the reporters, Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in Lok Sabha, said, "I am of the view that the front should sit and discuss on who should become the Prime Minister only after the elections. Hence, I believe that Rahul Gandhi shouldn't be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate."

"I hope to contribute in whatever way the party finds useful, in the committee and outside the committee as well."

"For us now, I think the immediate focus, the immediate priority, has to be the elections of 2024 or perhaps sooner. We don't know whether there might even be early polls as some are suggesting.

"But whatever happens, we have to be ready to face the people of India and to take back power for them," the erudite Congress leader added.

As per several reports, the Modi government is mulling holding elections earlier than the scheduled time. As per the schedule, the Lok Sabha elections are expected to be held in April-May, 2024.

Tharoor's comment came after INDIA's third meeting to strategise for the next national polls concluded on Friday.

INDIA forms 14-member central coordination committee, announces several panels

Comprising 26 anti-BJP parties, INDIA announced a 14-member Central Coordination Committee and a 19-member campaign committee at the conclusion of its two-day meeting in Mumbai on September 1.

The bloc, which earlier met in Patna and Bengaluru, held its third meeting in the country’s commercial capital, striving to give a formal shape to the alliance well in time for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The leaders of the participating parties also constituted three other panels-working groups for social media, media, and research.

The Central Coordination Committee includes veteran politician and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and two former Jammu and Kashmir CMs Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP).

The panel has been conceived to make decisions to streamline the functioning of the pre-election alliance.

The coordination committee members are Sharad Pawar, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, TR Baalu (DMK), TMC General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), JD(U) leader Lalan Singh, AAP MP Raghav Chadha, Hemant Soren, Javed Ali Khan (SP), CPI leader D Raja, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

The alliance said a member from the CPI-M would be included in the panel after the Marxist party submits a name.