Mumbai, May 2 : In a loaded political statement, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar on Thursday said Janata Dal (S) President H. D. Deve Gowda could emerge as the prime ministerial candidate after the elections.
"Gowda is the dark horse... just wait till May 23 (the results date)," said Ambedkar, a three-time MP, who is the grandson of the architect of Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar.
Speaking to mediapersons, he said according to his assessment, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party may not win seats as per its expectations, but will be restricted to 148-200 seats.
Similarly, the prime opposition contender - Congress - may be in the range of 100 seats, thus leaving the field wide open for the post of PM of a coalition government.
"So, tell me, who else? Gowda has been the PM in the past... he would be acceptable to all parties," Ambedkar said, adding he would prefer to see Gowda as the next PM.
A former Karnataka Chief Minister, Gowda, 85, had served as India's 11th PM between June 1996 and April 1997, heading the United Front coalition government.
Further analyzing the emerging political scenario, Ambedkar said the Congress is not in a position to take on Modi in the current circumstances.
"On the national stage, the BJP will lose around 35-40 seats in Uttar Pradesh, these constituencies are where the Dalit-Muslim population is between 28-45 per cent of the total electorate. Even if the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party leaders don't campaign in these seats, the BJP will still lose them," Ambedkar asserted.
The BJP's prospects are grim even in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, but it will cling onto Gujarat. The situation in Bihar and Jharkhand is fluid, he said.
When pointed out that Gowda's JD (S) does not have sufficient number of MPs, he retorted: "If not Gowda, who else? Mamata Banerjee is capable, but has nobody to fall back upon. Ditto with Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Naveen Patnaik or N. Chandrababu Naidu, who don't stand a chance," Ambedkar argued.
While Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is another senior regional contender, he would not get support from the Congress in his bid, and he dismissed outright the suggestion of Nationalist Congress Party's Sharad Pawar for the top post, saying: "He (Pawar) is not PM material."
On the VBA alliance's prospects - which has contested 48 Lok Sabha seats jointly with the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and the Owaisi brothers' All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen - Ambedkar said they expect to win at least two seats in Maharashtra.
"After elections, I will be on the anti-BJP side," Ambedkar declared without hesitation.