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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Rahul a natural leader, Nitish secular: PM

HT Correspondent, Agencies  New Delhi, June 17, 2013
First Published: 19:33 IST(17/6/2013) | Last Updated: 09:25 IST(18/6/2013)

Just a day after the JD(U)-BJP split, Bihar chief minister is already being flooded with proposals by wooers.

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to Nitish Kumar on Monday, calling him a secular leader.

Singh said the people of India know what Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi “stands for”, adding that Modi was not a threat to the Congress and that his elevation and Advani’s resignation were BJP’s internal issues.

Singh also showed willingness to make way for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the next PM, hailing the young Gandhi as a “natural leader” and fit for taking up the top job.

He also dismissed the possibility of the federal front being a threat to the Congress.

“In politics, there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends. We will decide as the situation evolves,” he told reporters at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday, when asked whether he saw the Bihar chief minister as a future ally.

“I cannot speculate on that or what happens in the future. We need support of all right-minded parties. In Parliament, we look for their support.”

The BJP-JD(U) split has made the federal front and Congress two possible options for Nitish Kumar and opened up chances that the JD(U) may support the Congress on crucial pending legislations like the food security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill in Parliament.

Singh added to the clamour within the Congress for Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister when he said in reply to a question: "... I would be very happy to see Rahul step into my shoes. I always believe we will have a third go at the elections as the UPA and people will again repose their faith in us.”

He added, “Rahul Gandhi is a natural leader of the Congress. I hope he will lead the UPA. I always believe Rahul is fit enough and has the right qualities of a leader.”

Rahul Gandhi had, however, earlier dismissed talk of his possible ascent to the Prime Ministerial post as a “non-issue”.


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