No contradition in stands of party, PM on power centres: Congress



New Delhi: Congress on Friday ruled out any contradiction between the party's stand on "two power centres" and the comments by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dismissing the debate on the issue as "useless" while it was evasive on projection of Rahul Gandhi as its face in Lok Sabha polls.

"Prime Minister has not made any statement, which is contradictory to what party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had said. There is no contradiction between the party and the government. If you see the histroy of Congress, Prime Minister and Party President had always been separate persons," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.

He was asked whether the party agrees with the Prime Minister or with Dwivedi who had said that the two power centres was an "ideal model" for future also.

Alvi said, "When we are talking about decentralising the power, his (Dwivedi's ) statement is right. He is correct when he says that it is good even for future."

He at the same time countered suggestions that Rahul Gandhi had yesterday ruled himself out of Prime-Ministerial race by saying that that whether he will become Prime Minister or not was "irrelevant" and "all smoke".

"Rahul Gandhi did not say that. He said that is not important whether he becomes Prime Minister or not. On the other side (in the BJP), you see so many people fighting to become Prime Minister.

"He (Gandhi) did not say that talks about his becoming Prime Minister are irrelevant. He only said that his becoming or not becoming the Prime Minister is not so important," the Congress spokesperson said.

Earlier, the Prime Minister, who was interacting with the mediapersons at Rashtrapati Bhavan after presentation of Padma Awards, dismissed as "hypothetical" a question as to whether he would accept a third term in office, adding "we are yet to complete this term."

Pressed further by reporters on whether he was ruling himself out, Singh remarked cryptically, "I am not ruling it in, I am not ruling it out."

The Prime Minister, at the same time, also said he would welcome "any day" Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister.

His comments assume significance in the backdrop of a clamour in the Congress for projecting 42-year-old Rahul Gandhi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Alvi said that Rahul Gandhi's current responsibility is the party and the government will implement his ideas.

"After 2014, UPA will form the government and will definitely implement the programmes" was his subtle response when asked whether Gandhi will keep giving ideas for their implementation after the next Lok Sabha elections as well, if a Congress-led government comes to power.

Last week, 80-year-old Prime Minister Singh had said, "We will cross that bridge when we reach there" when he was asked whether he would accept another term in office if offered.

The Prime Minister today dismissed as "useless" the debate over two power centres — the Congress President and the Prime Minister.

Digvijay Singh had said the two power centres had not worked well and should not be repeated.

Congress officially rejected this contention of Digvijay Singh and said it was an "ideal model" for future also.

Digvijay Singh had also made a strong pitch for Rahul Gandhi's Prime Ministership after the next Lok Sabha elections saying "...When time comes and if Congress gets majority or it is in a position to form the government, I think Rahul Gandhi should take the call".

Asked whether the party agrees with the Prime Minister, Dwivedi or Digvijay Singh, Alvi said he does not find any contradiction between the statement of the Prime Minister and that of Dwivedi while "Digvijay Singh had himself said that will go by the views of the party.

"What more do you want.... Everybody has a personal opinion but when a political party takes a decision, the decision of the party is important and everybody has to accept it," Alvi said when repeated asked about Digvijay Singh's views.

He said the official explanation by Dwivedi was required as media played up that matter about two power centres and Prime Ministership.

PTI