New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s cryptic remark leaving open the possibility of him being in the race for a third term prompted BJP to call him a "reluctant" politician who has shown his true "political colours" while Congress sought to downplay the comment.
"Dr Manmohan Singh is a very reluctant politician. But what is surprising is that few days after Holi, the reluctant politician has shown his true political colours. And that too being audaciously ambitious," BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in response to a question.
Singh yesterday appeared not to rule himself out of the race for Prime Ministership after the next Lok Sabha elections.
Asked by reporters yesterday whether he would accept another term in office if Congress President Sonia Gandhi offers him prime ministership again after 2014, Singh said: "these are all hypothetical questions. We will cross that bridge when we reach there".
Union Minister and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla remarked that the Prime Minister had said nothing to suggest he was ready for a third term.
"In my view he was responding to a pointed qustion. And what he said? He only said that when bridge will come we will decide how to cross it," he said.
Shukla also appeared to suggest that the media was giving different interpretations to Singh`s remark.
"Whether the comment of Manmohan Singh is more aimed at his foes in Congress or to put a question mark on Rahul Gandhi’s claim for the post of Prime Minister, for which a consistent chorus is going on within the Congress, is entirely the internal matter of Congress," Prasad said.
Gandhi had recently maintained that asking him about Prime Ministership is putting a "wrong question" to him.
BJP maintained that with the current account deficit touching an all-time high of 6.7 per cent, India`s growth story "is practically over". Prasad said this figure is higher than that of 1991 when the Indian economy was in a crisis.
"The people may despair the very idea of even remotely enduring Singh as Prime Minister for five more years," he said.
The main opposition charged that inflation, bad governance, policy paralysis and lack of accountability has made the life of all sections of the society miserable.
"Even trade and industrial bodies are raising critical questions about the manner in which India is governed," Prasad said, adding India`s image has been "dented" in the international fora.