If the NDA would have fallen short of the majority mark of 272, many opposition leaders were hoping to be the Prime Minister of India with the support of the non-BJP and non-NDA parties. The Congress President Rahul Gandhi, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BSP supremo Mayawati, Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal, and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu were among the front runners. Before the counting of votes on May 23, Mayawati indicated openly that she would go with any opposition formation that would offer her job of the Prime Minister. However, the BJP-led NDA emerged victorious with an unprecedented majority of 353 in the Lok Sabha. The BJP alone won 303 seats. This landslide victory of the ruling party shattered their dream of being the Prime Minister.
Maharashtra NCP Women Wing President Chitra Wagh told Afternoon Voice, “The NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has already made it clear that he is not in the race of PM post. The NCP accepts the mandate of people. We worked hard. All issues like employment, education, security of women, inflation, the situation of farmers are still the same as before. If the public wants us to sit in the opposition, we are ready to fulfill that responsibility in a better way. We will introspect the reason behind debacle in elections.”
Last year, Rahul Gandhi had claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s return to power was impossible. He said that he was ready to occupy the Prime Minister’s post if Congress emerges as the biggest party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Thus, he made known his ambition for the topmost post. This was not the first time Gandhi had spoken about his prime ministerial ambition. In an interaction at the Berkley University in the United States in September last year, Rahul Gandhi had said that he was completely ready to be the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Now, Rahul Gandhi offered his resignation at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet which was rejected.
Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap said, “Four generations of Gandhi-Nehru family dedicated themselves for the nation. During recently held elections, Rahul Gandhi campaigned for the Congress party candidates from north to south, west to east. He is not alone responsible for the poll debacle. The CWC has rejected his resignation. Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) tampering is still an issue. The functioning of the Election Commission of India is also under question. The Army should not be dragged into politics.”
Giriraj Singh, BJP’s newly elected MP from Beghusarai, said, “The negative thought of opposition parties is responsible for their defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. They have no leader, leadership and direction. There is only one post of the PM in the country and there are many aspirants for the PM’s post in the opposition. Therefore, their dream was destined to be shattered.”
At the beginning of this month, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav had hinted that he is ready to back Mayawati as the prime ministerial face of the opposition. He said that the next PM would be from the Mahagathbandhan and he would be very happy if it was a woman. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati had also indicated that if she got a chance to become the Prime Minister, she would contest the Lok Sabha election from Ambedkar Nagar. Mayawati had won the Lok Sabha elections from Ambedkar Nagar four times in 1989, 1998, 1999 and 2004. For the first time last week, she said that compared to her, Modi was unfit for the prime minister’s job.
Mamata Banerjee‘s anti-Centre and anti-Modi protests had got support from the opposition parties. They announced their support for her. Thus, Mamata Banerjee was fuelling her prime ministerial ambition by pitting herself directly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If she got the 35-40 seats from West Bengal, she could have been the front-runner for the top post among opposition parties. Mamata was giving subtle hints about taking on a bigger role in the future. However, after losing 18 seats to the BJP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Sunday offered to quit her position and work as Trinamool Congress chief.
The Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal fought the Lok Sabha election against Narendra Modi in 2014. He has been continuously criticising the central government. This put him in a direct fight with PM Modi, indicating his prime ministerial ambition. Similarly, NCP President Sharad Pawar and Andhra Pradesh’s outgoing chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had adopted the role of matchmaker for a non-BJP front. Both the leaders met a number of opposition leaders after the final phase of voting on May 19. Pawar and Naidu had been trying to rally opposition leaders before the election results. However, their ambition for the Prime Minister’s post cannot be ruled out. Pawar was hoping to be an ideal compromise PM candidate among opposition leaders. On May 23, the massive victory of PM Modi shattered the dream of these all leaders. Most of the PM aspirants suffered a major setback in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.