New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi should be the  prime ministerial candidate for Lok Sabha elections 2019, said Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin on Sunday.  “Rahul has got the ability to defeat fascist Modi government. Let’s strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s hands, let’s save the country,” Stalin said, while addressing a gathering after unveiling a life-size statue of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in Chennai. Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Rahul Gandhi Backs Protesting Farmers, Says Modi Govt Will Have To Take Back 'The Black Law'

The DMK chief also urged all political parties to join forces and support Gandhi to defeat the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government. Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel Laid to Rest in Gujarat’s Bharuch, Rahul Gandhi Attends Funeral

Lambasting the central government, Stalin claimed that the country has gone 15 years back in Modi’s 5 years rule. “In the 5 years of PM Modi’s rule, the country has gone 15 years back. If we give another chance to him, surely the country will go 50 years back. PM Modi is behaving like a king, that’s why we’ve all come together to safeguard democracy and country.” Also Read - Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi Pays Last Respects to Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

Notably, Stalin’s proposal came at a time when the Congress has been making attempts to stitch a grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) with anti-BJP opposition parties in its bid to dethrone the NDA government at the Centre.

Meanwhile, echoing similar views, Congress president Rahul Gandhi also urged parties to get together and defeat Bharatiya Janata Party in forthcoming general elections.

“While Karunanidhi Ji defended institutions of this country, today we’ve a govt that is attacking voice, culture, institutions of Tamil Nadu and our country. In memory of Karunanidhi Ji, all voices in India are going to get together and defeat BJP in next election,” Gandhi asserted.

He added,”We aren’t going to allow the destruction of the idea of India, the destructions of our institutions, the Supreme Court, the RBI, the EC. And we are going to stand together and do this (defeat BJP).”

A couple of months ago, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had clarified that the grand old party will not project its president Rahul Gandhi or any other leader as the prime ministerial candidate.  Another Congress leader and Thiruvananthpuram MP Shashi Tharoor had also said that Rahul would not be projected as the prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Polls

“The decision on the prime ministerial face of the Congress alliance would be a collective one and “it may not be him (Gandhi). The Congress has a broader notion of a leader unlike the BJP. We had people like Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram and others having tremendous track record,” the Thiruvananthpuram MP noted.