Free Press Journal

Rahul may not be made PM candidate


New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi may have expressed his willingness to undertake any responsibility given to him by his party but contrary to widespread speculation he is unlikely to be announced the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate.

The Gandhi scion has appeared reluctant in the past to take up any responsibility in the government but ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha elections he had said yesterday that he was a sepoy of the party and was willing to take up any job given to him, fuelling further speculation that he would take on Narendra Modi for the PM stakes.

“I am a sepoy of Congress.I will obey whatever order is given to me. I will do whatever Congress wants me to do… Decisions are taken in our party by senior leaders,” he told a Hindi daily.

However, the thinking in the Congress is that it may be “risky” to announce him as the PM candidate with the party facing an uphill task in the polls and if he is given that responsibility the blame would go to him in the event Congress does badly at the hustings.

Ahead of the AICC session on Friday, the party leadership was weighing other options such as making Rahul Gandhi in charge of the election campaign and even appointing him as Working President of the party. However, talk of Rahul Gandhi being made the PM candidate is still making the rounds.

Those who do not favour Rahul Gandhi being made the candidate for the PM’s post point out that Congress does not have the tradition of naming candidate for the PM’s post ahead of the polls.

Exception was made in 2009 when party President Sonia Gandhi had at a press conference released a party document that showed her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the cover and blocked her picture to say Singh would be the candidate.

The party leadership may rely on that tradition and entrust the responsibility of campaign or Working President, although there is little doubt that there will be clamour at the AICC meeting to make him a candidate.

AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had last week said there was no need for the party  to declare a prime ministerial candidate before the elections.