Amid talk of Congress preparing to project Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, Union minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday said the party vice-president is its "natural leader".
He, however, dismissed as "unnecessary speculation" the media reports about the possibility of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resigning, saying, "I know on December 31 there is little news but this does not mean that absurd, baseless and incorrect news stories should be run."
The information and broadcasting minister said the way news had been running since morning, showed that there was need for responsibility.
"This is absolutely baseless and without facts. I don't want to lend any decorum to such questions by reacting to them," he said.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Tewari said Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are the "trinity" of Congress.
He was asked about the possiblity of Rahul Gandhi being projected as the Congress' Prime Ministerial candidate and the timing for the same.
"Rahul Gandhi is the natural leader of the Congress," Tewari replied. At the same time, he went on to add that "There is no dearth of leaders in the Congress." Asked about the timing of the possible announcement of a Prime Ministerial nominee, he noted that Sonia Gandhi has already said that if there is a need to declare a candidate, it will be done at a proper time and there was no need for any hurry.
His remarks came a day after senior Congress leader and finance minister P Chidambaram said the party should declare its prime ministerial candidate.
Tewari also suggested that the recent drubbing suffered by the Congress in four assembly elections should not be a demoralising factor.