On Board the Prime Minister’s Special Aircraft:
Amid increased clamour within the Congress over projecting Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate in 2014 general elections, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said the party is waiting for his decision on the issue.
“There is no confusion at all… He is our consensus leader. Whenever it is his wish, we are waiting for his decision, indication, direction and message,” he said.
Political observers are of the view that 2014 polls would be by and large a direct fight between the Congress vice-president and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi both of whom have stepped up their campaign across the country. While Modi has been declared as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, there is a growing clamour within the Congress to reciprocate the move by naming a reluctant Gandhi as its nominee.
“People make their own observations as per their thinking,” Khurshid said, adding it is up to Gandhi to decide on taking the leadership role in the government.
“As long as his leadership is concerned, that is settled and there is no confusion. We should now move forward as per his directions,” said Khurhsid who had earlier come under fire for his remarks that Gandhi is only playing a 'cameo role' and that Congress party is directionless. He had later denied it, saying his words were misinterpreted.
Asked about the divergent opinion in the Congress on how to tackle Modi, Khurshid said the Gujarat chief minister is trying to “blow himself up to a larger than life size” and that there is no need to engage with him at the moment.
As far as factual situation is concerned, he said there are enough number of people, not only in politics and the Congress party who were making clear and known the reality of people in Gujarat, whether it is about malnourishment, education etc.
“We need not spend all our time on preparing a strategy to deal with Modi and I will rather let BJP do that,” he said.
On the recent cabinet decision to withdraw its ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Khurshid said the union government had taken a pragmatic view while Gandhi’s opted for a principal stand. “Sometimes, a principal stand is given precedence over pragmatic view….and that is good also.”