New Delhi: Congress on Thursday downplayed a survey which projected major gains for AAP in big metropolises pushing Rahul Gandhi to third position as Prime Ministerial choice after Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, saying it will comment on its strategy at an appropriate time.
The party also dismissed any challenge to Rahul Gandhi from AAP leader Kumar Vishwas who has announced that he will contest against the Congress Vice-President, saying the AAP leader "does not exist at all" in Amethi whose electorate share an emotional bond with the Nehru-Gandhi family.
"I am not going to comment on surveys and poll forecasting, which are done at regular interval by different agencies before the polls. ...Congress party can speak on its strategy, its mechanism when the appropriate time comes," party general secretary Ambika Soni told reporters.
Speaking about selection of candidates, she said, "Some office bearers of the party are deciding all this, they are meeting people, people from states, the Chief Ministers, the PCCs and the CLP leaders are coming. The names of potential candidates are being given and information is being gathered about them.
"The attempt is that one who can win and has the support of the grass roots is given the Congress ticket. Rahul Gandhi wants to bring such people forward."
Union Minister Salman Khurshid merely said, "I find it very difficult to believe that (survey) but I am very glad that you believe that" when asked about the survey findings.
Asked about the challenge to Rahul Gandhi from the candidature of Vishwas in Amethi, Rajya Sabha MP and former CLP leader of Uttar Pradesh Pramod Tiwari said that he has known Amethi since 1977 when Sanjay Gandhi had contested from the seat and the electorate their share and "emotional bond" with the Gandhi family.
"I can say with full confidence, full authority after going through the constituency that Kumar Vishwas does not exist in Amethi at all.... Amethi has been served by the family members Sanjay Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There is a family emotional bond. They respect the family.
"What has Kumar Vishwas done in that constituency and what is the identity of Kumar Vishwas. He is just a poet," he said, declining that there were any similarities with Delhi where Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit lost to Arvind Kejriwal in the recent assembly election.