New Delhi: Amid a renewed debate over the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate, the party today expressed confidence that "only" Rahul Gandhi will become the Prime Minister and take the country forward.
"All the workers and leaders of Congress wish from the core of their heart that Rahul Gandhi becomes Prime Minister of the country. We are confident that only Rahul will become the Prime Minister of the country.
"He has, in him, all the qualities required to be the Prime Minister. Rahul Gandhi has in own way of thinking and is farsighted. We are confident that whenever he becomes the Prime Minister, Rahul will be a competent Prime Minister and will take the country forward," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.
Alvi’s statement came just hours after Congress’ master strategist Digvijay Singh cautioned against the view that Rahul Gandhi is not interested to be the Prime Minister.
Singh, who is known to be very close to the Gandhi scion, said, “He (Rahul Gandhi) has not said no anywhere… What is being reported in the press has caused some misconception. If the people of the country want, then why won`t he (be the Congress` candidate for PM)?"
Rahul Gandhi had earlier said that his focus was building his party, not to be Prime Minister. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh points out that this in no way means that Mr Gandhi has said no to being PM.
The Congress general secretary’s clarification is important as it clears the air – important in context of Congress’s internal politics after Rahul stated that Prime Minister`s post is not my priority.
"I believe in long-term politics." The 42-year-old had said, however, he did not comment on who would be named PM if the Congress should return to power for a third term.
In a television interview yesterday, Digvijay Singh suggested that Mr Gandhi should not opt to nominate someone else as Prime Minister and keep charge of the party as his mother had done, if the party gets a majority in the next Lok Sabha polls. He said, "I personally feel that there should not be two power centres and I think whoever is the Prime Minister must have the authority to function, although Sonia Gandhi has really never interfered in the functioning of the government."
The Congress vice-president, Mr Singh said, "is mature enough to handle the intricacies of coalition politics."
Rahul Gandhi was formally appointed Vice-President of the Congress in January this year. Even before being escalated to this post, he was for years treated as the second-most influential member of his party, after his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is the party`s president.
The debate on Rahul Gandhi Prime Ministerial ambitions took a low earlier this month when the Congress Vice President distanced himself from such speculations. "Asking me whether you want to be Prime Minister is a wrong question," he told party MPs in an informal discussion.
Last month, he also made his displeasure known to leaders who tried to please him by demanding that he be declared the party`s prime ministerial candidate, party sources said.