It was just two days ago in Chennai, the DMK chief M K Stalin had announced the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister in the 2019 elections. Telugu Desam Party supremo and AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was present on the dais when Stalin made this announcement. Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi too were present. There were leaders from the Left parties and others, who are part of the Congress-led UPA, present at the meeting. Everyone was silent on that announcement, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Man Mohan Singh and Chandrababu Naidu.
Chandrababu Naidu’s silence to the statement was taken as his acceptance as he was the only non-UPA leader. He had left the BJP-led NDA and joined the Congress-led UPA afresh ahead of the next elections in 2019. As new entrant into the UPA, Chandrababu Naidu was aware of the claims of West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, for the prime minister slot in the 2019 elections. These two leaders have staked claim for the top job when Chandrababu Naidu met them during his meetings with them in the past. Knowing the competition for the post from these two leaders, Chandrababu Naidu’s slice to Stalin’s statement was taken as his consent.
Now, with the TMC and the Left parties opposing Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for the prime minister post and they want the issue to be kept aside till the elections are over, Chandrababu Naidu is now caught in tough situation. The man who claims to have wheeled the national politics is now seen as bystander to the Congress. He has no option now except being in the company of the Congress and it looks as if he had realised his place now in the national politics.
Though his paid media in Andhra Pradesh makes tall claims about his role in the national politics, those who watch the national politics closely find him as onlooker and not a key player.