Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s claim that he will be the prime minister in 2019 if his party gets maximum seats may have pre-empted the non-NDA has not only set the ball rolling for the country’s politics, but also that it has put non-UPA parties and put them in a dilemma.

The ball is now in the court of the third front over the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a media report says.

Seconding Rahul Gandhi’s claim, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel today said, “Definitely from our (Congress) side, prime ministerial candidate will be Rahul.”

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Ahmed Patel’s assertion carries much weight because he is one of the senior-most leaders in the Congress and is believed to have a say in the affairs of the party after Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi.

The move is aimed at engineering the strengthening of the Congress-led UPA. The Congress hopes that more opposition parties gravitate towards the UPA.

The Congress also expects to increase its bargaining power with the Opposition by pre-empting them.

The third front parties are now left with two choices – either to accept Rahul Gandhi as their prime ministerial candidate too or reject his claim and field their own face for the top job.

The decision of the third front parties will have wider repercussions for the ruling BJP-led NDA group.

Even though ruling NDA party at the Centre has not named its PM candidate, still it is widely known that the Narendra Modi will be the obvious choice for them.