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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Gandhi as Cong PM nominee: CWC meet begins amid divergent views

Agencies  New Delhi, January 16, 2014
First Published: 16:59 IST(16/1/2014) | Last Updated: 19:01 IST(16/1/2014)

Amid divergent views in the Congress on whether party vice-president Rahul Gandhi should be projected as the prime ministerial candidate, the apex Congress Working Committee (CWC) began its meet in New Delhi on Thursday.

The meet will finalise the draft resolution for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting on Friday.

Thursday's meeting was believed to discuss various suggestions on the issue of projecting a prime ministerial candidate, party sources said. They said a section of the party is in favour of projecting the prime ministerial candidate, but another group has reservations over the move.

The sources said those against the projection feel the party was late in making a move and Gandhi would have to do a lot of catching up. Congress leaders also say after the party's rout in four assembly elections, its prospects do not appear bright in the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking ahead of a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet on Thursday, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said it was time for a generational change in the party and anyone who had a problem with Rahul Gandhi would have to leave.

“Time has come for change. There shouldn't be adjustment problems with Rahul. Those who have a problem with him will have to go,” Khurshid said in an interview to CNN-IBN.

Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the country needed a young and dynamic leadership which could be provided by Congress vice-president Gandhi.

Other top Congress leaders also backed Gandhi as the face of the party ahead of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet, which is scheduled to be held on January 17.

Union road transport and highways minister Oscar Fernandes said Gandhi was the party’s top choice to be made the prime ministerial nominee. “Whether he (Rahul) accepts or not, he is our prime ministerial candidate. He will certainly accept (the responsibility), this is my opinion,” Fernandes said.

“Wait till tomorrow,” the minister said when asked whether the announcement of Gandhi's candidature would be made on Friday. He also said there was no difference of opinion among senior party leaders over the move. “No, no differences... we all are very happy.”

Talking about the possible party decision, senior leader Rajiv Shukla had earlier said, “I will raise the demand that the Congress goes for elections under Rahul Gandhi. Rahul has never sought any post, he has always taken the responsibilities.”


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