External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought to put his Rahul-as-PM remarks in context by clarifying that it was made in response to a question why the political system did not transfer leadership to the younger generation.
“So I gave a series of examples…. When Rajiv Gandhi became PM at the age of early 40s, why can’t Rahul?’’ he told a TV channel.
Asked if this meant that Rahul could be PM after the 2009 general elections, Mukherjee said: “Potential is in a number of people. We do believe that India has a number of persons who have the prime ministerial material, who have the potentiality. But it depends on which political party or parties are going to have the majority in our parliamentary system after the elections… how the elected MPs are going to choose their leaders,’’ he said.
On Friday, the Congress spokesman had joined the chorus of Rahul-as-PM but maintained that it was for the young leader to decide when to don the mantle. He also said the party stood by what Sonia Gandhi said last August when asked whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would unfurl the national flag at the Red Fort again. Sonia had backed the PM then.