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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be the prime minister if the Congress party returns to power after the general elections due by May, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday, barely a few days after his party decided not to declare its PM candidate.
“If the Congress is called to form the government, I am pretty certain in my mind that Rahul Gandhi will be the prime minister,” Chidambaram said at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting here.
The Congress has refrained from naming Gandhi the prime ministerial candidate of the party, but said he would lead the campaigns for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The decision has drawn criticism, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime minister nominee Narendra Modi saying the Congress was trying to save Gandhi as it was certain of a defeat.
Gandhi, however, at a recent party meet had said parliamentarians will choose the next PM “democratically”.
But Chidambaram once again stirred the chorus for “Rahul as PM” on Wednesday. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had endorsed Gandhi’s credentials for the country’s top job.
Chidambaram said Gandhi had enough fire in his belly to be the prime minister of the country.
Chidambaram predicted that the electorate was likely to give a fractured mandate in the upcoming elections and no party would get a clear majority to form the government.
He hit out at the BJP, terming its economic policy “blood-eyed”. “It (BJP) has got policies that would destroy the very idea of India.”
Criticising the BJP for its opposition to the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and public distribution system reforms, Chidambaram also said the main opposition party’s economic policy was “retrograde”.