Being called ‘yuvraj’ (meaning prince or heir apparent) by ‘sycophants’ finally got to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. In his first public reaction to the controversy, the Amethi MP said India had the “most capable” Prime Minister in Manmohan Singh, and added that he took strong exception to being projected as the future PM.
“I feel the word ‘yuvraj’ is insulting. India is a democratic country and this word has no meaning today,” Rahul told newspersons at Kankera, after visiting the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
The Amethi MP’s comments may turn out to be more effective than the AICC’s appeal to end all speculation about Rahul-as-PM. After Arjun Singh, Digvijay Singh and then UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi hailing him as a future PM, UPA allies like the DMK also joined the refrain and created an embarrassing situation for the PM.
Recently, EMS Natchiappan’s reference to Rahul as yuvraj had created an uproar in the Rajya Sabha, with the BJP alleging that such usage was a blot on democracy. In a damage control exercise, spokesman Abhishek Singhvi claimed that the phrase used was yuvraj (prince) of hearts.
Rahul sought to end all this talk about his projection as PM with his categorical assertion that Manmohan Singh is a very capable leader.
Initially reluctant to react to the remarks of senior Congress leaders about him, Rahul later stated: “I feel the most capable Prime Minister is Manmohan Singh. I am behind him and I support him as the Prime Minister.”
Rahul also took a swipe at Mayawati’s repeated allegations that he cleansed himself with a special soap and went through purification rites after visiting Dalit homes.
“See my clothes, I do not use any special soaps. Can you make out anything?” he asked.
He even got up on a chair and pointed to his soiled clothes, asking everyone present to judge for themselves.