Rahul Gandhi won`t be PM candidate, BJP says Congress conceded defeat

By Deepak Nagpal | Last Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 00:34

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Ending all speculation, the Congress on Thursday declared that Rahul Gandhi will not be named the party`s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections due in May.

Congress spokesperson and senior party leader Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee that Rahul will lead the party`s campaign for the upcoming General Elections.

Dwivedi quoted party president Sonia Gandhi as telling the CWC meet that there is no tradition in the Congress of anointing a PM candidate before elections.
“Everyone in the Congress Working Committee wanted Rahul Gandhi to be named PM candidate. But the Congress president intervened and said this is not the Congress tradition,” Dwivedi said.

“This meeting declared that Rahul Gandhi will lead the Congress campaign for 2014 elections,” he added.

The spokesperson further stated that Rahul said during the meeting that he is ready for whatever role the party decides for him.
Responding to a question, Dwivedi said, “Just because some party has declared its PM candidate, doesn`t mean that we will too.”

Earlier, CWC sources had categorically stated that Rahul will not be anointed as Congress` prime ministerial nominee at the AICC session being held here tomorrow.

There was speculation that a section of the Congress party was against projecting Rahul as PM candidate immediately and did not want him to be exposed to the tirade of Narendra Modi, the main opposition BJP`s PM candidate.

In contrast, Rahul had in an interview published on Tuesday indicated that he was ready for the top job.

"I am a soldier of Congress. Whatever order is given to me I will follow it. Whatever Congress says, I will follow it," Gandhi, 43, said in his rare interview with a Hindi daily.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already ruled himself out of a third term if the ruling UPA comes back to power. He has also praised Rahul`s "outstanding credentials".

In a rare development, Rahul yesterday attended the Congress` core group meet at the Prime Minister`s residence here. The Congress core group includes the party`s senior-most leaders.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Congress announcement BJP`s Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “They know Congress won`t come to power. Therefore, they thought why declare Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate only to let him down?”

BJP`s spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain also took a jibe on the decision and said that Congress must be desperate as all the surveys project Narendra Modi as the PM. Moreover, he said that the Congress will fight without any leader.

First Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 19:51

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