With less than a month for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 to begin, it is still not clear as to who would replace Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fails to gain majority. Though Congress President Rahul Gandhi is the front-runner for the post, but the party has not officially declared his name for the post fearing lack of consensus from the other parties of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Schedule: Voting In 7 Phases From April 11 to May 19, Counting And Results On May 23; Check All Dates For General Elections.
If not Rahul Gandhi, then who?
One name that could be a suitable candidate for the post of PM, apart from Gandhi, is Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. He is the one politician who always puts the nation's interest before his political gains. He took the BJP-Akali Dal alliance head on and wrested the state of Punjab in the Assembly Elections 2017. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Schedule: How Staggered Polling Could Help BJP.
Why Captain Amarinder Singh?
He restored the Congress rule in Punjab in 2017 when the Narendra Modi wave was sweeping across the entire country. Under his leadership, the party managed to gain absolute majority in the 117-member assembly. In the elections, the Congress won 77 seats, while the closest rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged only 20 seats. However, the SAD-BJP alliance remained victorious only on 18 seats. The Congress party, under his leadership, also swept the Panchayat elections which were held in the state last year.
Secondly, Captain Singh, the ex-army officer, is very vocal about the issues of national interest and does not hesitate in putting forward his views. Recently, when the Indian Air Force (IAF) destroyed Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot, he lauded the force. When his fellow party members raised questions on the strikes, he refrained himself from playing politics on the issue. In fact, he even sought permission from PM Modi to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at the Wagah-Attari Border even as people told him that he could go in his individual capacity as he was the Chief Minister of Punjab. This shows his maturity in dealing with the issues concerning national security. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase VII: List of States And Constituencies Voting on May 19.
Last year, when his cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu hugged Pakistan Army Chief Javed Qamar Bajwa during the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan, the Punjab CM did not shy away from criticism. Similarly, Captain Singh on various occasions, gave a stern warning to Sikh radicals to refrain from any activity destroying the sovereignty of the country.
The Election Commission of India on Sunday announced the dates of the Lok Sabha polls. Voting will take place in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. Meanwhile, according to latest State of the Nation opinion poll conducted by CVoter for IANS, the NDA is likely to get 31.1 percent of votes, while the UPA led by Congress is expected to get 30.9 percent votes. The BJP is also likely to emerge as the single largest party in the parliamentary elections.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of LatestLY.)