Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Even as the UPA-2 is celebrating four years in office, a senior Congress leader suggested on Wednesday that the time had come to project Rahul Gandhi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate and that Manmohan Singh had “served his ten years.”
Talking to a television news channel, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the time was ripe to project the Congress vice president as the PM candidate as the next Lok Sabha elections was round the corner. “Rahul now has all his ten fingers in, he has served as vice-president and he should be projected as the prime ministerial candidate for the Congress party,” he said.
However, he added that it was only upto Rahul Gandhi to take a decision on the matter.
Kamal Nath also ruled out early Lok Sabha polls saying that the elections would take place as scheduled.
There has been a growing clamour in the rank and file of the Congress party to officially name Rahul as the PM candidate for 2014 polls. However, the Congress vice president has on more than one occasion made it clear that he was not hankering after the top post.
Moreover, Manmohan Singh on being asked whether he was open for a third term as PM had not ruled himself out of contention. It is said that the Congress would not like to project Rahul as PM now for the next polls as it would undermine the incumbent PM and to a certain extent erode the authority of Manmohan Singh.
For the past few weeks there has also been speculation in the media as to all was not well between the PM and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Infact it was even said that Manmohan Singh was reluctant to sack under-fire ministers Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal but was forced to do so at the intervention of the UPA chairperson.
However, Congress leaders have on more than one occasion denied a rift between the two saying that the PM and Sonia Gandhi shared a perfect relationship. The Congress also made it clear that Manmohan Singh would remain the PM till 2014.