PUNE/ PATNA: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar asserted on Monday that the opposition need not announce a prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This follows suggestions by Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during the INDIA bloc’s December 19 meeting in New Delhi that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge be considered as the PM candidate of the alliance.
Speaking in Pune, the 83-year-old Pawar drew historical parallels: “The front (INDIA) can go to the polls without a PM face. This happened in 1977 when Morarji Desai was nowhere in the race before the elections and the opposition fought without a PM face. A new party was formed after the general elections and he became the PM.”
He said people would make their choices regardless of whether the opposition presents a PM candidate or not, especially if they have decided on a change.
Meanwhile, in Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar clarified on Monday that he was neither “naraaz” (angry) nor “maayus” (disappointed) regarding the suggestion of Kharge as the Prime Minister face, dismissing speculation that he was upset over not being considered for the position.
“Nahi bhai, yeh galat baat hai. Hum zara bhi naraaz nahi hai… Brother, it is a wrong observation. I am not angry over anything, not at all. You can choose anyone (as the PM face), I have no desire to take any post in the INDIA bloc,” the JD(U) leader said, while underscoring the importance of unity among opposition parties. “I just want all parties opposed to BJP to come to a common platform.”
Nitish stressed the urgency of expediting seat-sharing arrangements among all INDIA bloc allies.

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