JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda has said that he is open to the idea of projecting Mamata Banerjee or Mayawati as the prime ministerial candidate of a united Opposition in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
In an interview with PTI, Deve Gowda said, “Most welcome if Mamata is projected as PM. Indira Gandhi ruled as prime minister for 17 years. Why should we [men] alone become PM? Why not Mamata or Mayawati?”
He further stated that Mamata Banerjee was seriously pursuing the task of forming a federal front, after the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam excluded 40 lakh people from the list in the eastern state.
Deve Gowda added that the regional party is ready to align with other parties to take on the BJP.
"It is because there is a sense of fear in the country. There is a suffocating atmosphere for minorities in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat. A formidable front is necessary to take on the BJP in 2019," he noted.
The JD(S) in Karnataka has signed a pre-poll agreement with the Congress to fight the Lok Sabha elections together. The announcement was made weeks after the two parties came together to form a coalition government in Karnataka after the elections in May resulted in a hung Assembly.
However, the issue of seat-sharing between the two parties has not yet been discussed. Karnataka accounts for 28 Lok Sabha seats.
Gowda headed the Janata Dal-led United Front coalition government in 1996 and took over as Prime Minister, but his tenure did not last more than a year.
The development comes even as Congress confirmed that they want party president Rahul Gandhi to be the prime ministerial candidate of a united opposition. However, they have left the door open for anyone who is not backed by the BJP or RSS.