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Mamata Banerjee proposes Mallikarjun Kharge’s name as PM candidate | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: At the fourth joint meeting of the INDIA coalition of opposition parties, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee ruffled feathers on Tuesday when she suddenly threw up the name of Congress president Mallikarjun Khargeas the opposition bloc’s prime ministerial candidate, suggesting that he could be the “Dalit” face, which was promptly supported by Aam Admi Party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, it is learnt.The issue of appointing a convenor for the INDIA coalition was also being discussed since, many feel a points person to coordinate with the 28 parties is needed.
This proposal (PM) by Banerjee — seen as a surprise move, meant to ruffle feathers — was immediately addressed by Kharge himself, who said there is no question on deciding the PM candidate now, it will only be decided after the elections as the first task is to defeat the ruling BJP, according to sources. But the mood of the meeting on Tuesday, seemed to lack the natural bonhomie among leaders, unlike the earlier meetings where the chemistry was perceptibly positive, sources said.
Bihar CM and JDU chief Nitish Kumar is learnt to have spoken out first saying he has never talked about any post for himself. He was earlier made convenor of the opposition group, who hosted the first meeting in Patna.
At the meeting, it was decided that seat sharing equations will be finalised by January 10, at the latest, to which Banerjee is learnt to have suggested that ideally it should be finalised by December 31.
Interestingly, unlike in the earlier three meetings of the INDIA bloc, the joint press conference was held by Kharge, with many of the regional party leaders missing from the dais. As soon as the meeting got over, Banerjee, DMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM, M K Stalin, Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Kejriwal, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Shiv Sena (U) leader Uddhav Thackaray, Jayant Chowdhury, had left the venue at the Ashoka Hotel. They were not present at the press conference, even as SP MP Ramgopal Yadav was seated among the other leaders.
On behalf of Akhilesh Yadav who was present at the meeting, Ramgopal Yadav is learnt to have raised an issue with the Congress, saying there are some talks of bringing BSP chief Mayawati into the opposition fold. If that is the case, SP will not be a part of the alliance, the former Uttar Pradesh CM is learnt to have said at the meeting on Tuesday.
There were parties who questioned Congress about its recent defeat in three states elections (MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan). If Stalin said that “there are lessons to be learnt from these three defeats,” there were others who wanted to know from Congress leadership why the joint rally in Bhopal was called off.
It is interesting that Banerjee had met with Kejriwal at her residence here on Monday evening, with Uddhav Thackaray on Tuesday morning and with Akhilesh Yadav, at the Ashoka Hotel, just before the meeting of the INDIA parties. These leaders had also coordinated with the DMK leadership.
Thackaray is learnt to have suggested that the seat sharing deal be finalised before any joint rallies are held after the first one on Friday.
Kharge announced after the meeting that a resolution had been passed by the INDIA alliance condemning the suspension of MPs, in an unprecedented manner in great numbers, and it had been decided that about seven or eight joint rallies to protest, against “this undemocratic Narendra Modi government” would be held at several venues across the country. The first rally will be held in Delhi on December 22, the last day of the Winter Session.
The INDIA party leaders also passed a resolution on the EVM issue, where they have called for 100 % use of VVPAT for the Lok Sabha polls.


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