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Manmohan noncommittal on third term

delhi Updated: Apr 05, 2013 16:35 IST
prime ministerial candidate

In a new twist to the raging debate over the country's next prime minister, incumbent Manmohan Singh on Friday said he was neither ruling himself in, nor out.

The Prime Minister initially dismissed as "hypothetical" a question as to whether he would accept a third term in office, saying "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."

His comments assume significance as there is 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.

Earlier, last week, 80-year-old 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.

During today's brief interaction with mediapersons in the Rashtrapati Bhawan after presentation of Padma Awards, Singh, however, said he would welcome "any day" Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister.

He dismissed as "useless" the debate over two power centres -- one the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and another the Prime Minister.

"This is the creation of the media. It is a useless debate," he said when asked about the issue of two power centres coming into focus after senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh raked it up recently.

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

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