Chennai: DMK president MK Stalin on Sunday proposed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's name for the Prime Minister's post as opposition leaders gathered in Chennai for a show of strength. Stalin's plea is in line with the tradition of his late father M Karunanidhi who had earlier invited Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi for leadership roles.
Stalin said, "In the five years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rule, the country has gone 15 years back. If we give another chance to him, surely the country will go 50 years back. PM Modi is behaving like a king, that's why we've all come together to safeguard democracy and country."
He added, "From the soil of Tamil Nadu, I propose the name of Rahul Gandhi for the prime ministerial candidate. I propose we'll install a new Prime Minister in Delhi. I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu. He has got the ability to defeat the fascist Modi government."
Earlier in the day, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi unveiled the statue of late DMK president M Karunanidhi at the party's headquarters in Chennai. Sonia, who was accompanied by Rahul Gandhi, unveiled the statue in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Kerala and Puducherry counterparts — Pinarayi Vijayan and V Narayanasamy — and leaders of DMK and several other parties, movie actors and industrialists. Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth also participated in the function.
This was the first time that opposition leaders were seen together after the Congress won Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the recently held assembly elections. Senior opposition leaders, including Stalin, are also expected to attend the swearing-in of new Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, Kamal Nath in MP and Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh on Monday.
Speaking at a public rally after the event, Naidu said people elected the BJP government but then it destroyed all institutions. “Federalism is destroyed. They are misusing CBI. It's a premier institution for corruption control, now it's muddled in corruption itself. They removed CBI Director. RBI Governor has resigned,” he said.
“Even ED and IT department are being used to victimise politicians. Yesterday, you saw the Rafale case in Supreme Court. Even for SC, this government has filed wrong affidavit. Governors are misusing powers in Goa, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states,” Naidu added.
Rahul Gandhi, while paying tributes to Karunanidhi, said though the DMK patriarch defended institutions of the country, “today we have a government that is attacking voice, culture, institutions of Tamil Nadu and our country”. He said, “In memory of Karunanidhi Ji, all voices in India are going to get together and defeat BJP in next election.”
“We aren't going to allow the destruction of the idea of India, the destruction of our institutions, the Supreme Court, the RBI, the EC. And we are going to stand together and do this (defeat BJP),” Gandhi added.