Joining issues with BJP leader L K Advani, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took potshots at him saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not weak as he had not "buckled" to terrorists during the Kandahar hijack episode.
"He (Singh) has achieved a hell of a lot. He has kept the country faster than it has ever grown. He has brought massive presure on our neighbour after the Mumbai attack and he has given us a strategic deal (with the US) which the previous government had not done," he told a press conference.
Asked about Advani's oft-repeated criticism of Singh as a weak Prime Minister, he said Singh had shown tremendous grit and determination.
"Let us not go back very far. During the (negotiations on) US deal, the Prime Minister showed tremendous grit, will and toughness. "These are easy things to say. If he is a weak Prime Minister he did not buckle in front of terrorists in Kandahar. He has achieved a lot for the country. I do not think he is weak. He has whole support from me," Gandhi said.
When a questioner asked him to compare Advani with the Prime Minister, he said he did not want to make statements about Advani "who is a senior leader" but he would definitely speak about Singh.
Gandhi said "Advani is also a senior leader. He is the leader of the BJP. It is not my intention to make statements on Advani. I do not like to make statements but I can say a little about my leader but I do not see myself saying something about Advani."
He said he had the pleasure of working with Singh who he considered was one of the top leaders of the country, a first class gentleman and an honourable gentleman.
Asked whether he saw himself as Prime Minister in the near future, he said this question has been raised quite often in the past and added that when the doors of politics are open to youngsters, he wanted to attract youths to enter into politics.
"I enjoy doing this work," he said referring to the work he had done in Punjab and other states where he enrolled lot of young members into the party.
Gandhi said in Punjab the membership of youth Congress has gone up to 300,000 from 30,000 and in Gujarat he has been able to enroll 12,000 youths into the party.