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Will Congress name Rahul as its PM candidate?

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 12, 2013
First Published: 00:44 IST(12/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:46 IST(12/10/2013)

Notwithstanding his perceived reluctance for the prime ministerfs post, there is a growing clamour within the Congress to name party vice president Rahul Gandhi the partyfs prime ministerial candidate.

The Congress has been careful not to turn the 2014 election campaign into a battle of personalities between BJP prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi and Gandhi.

However, many in the party feel that Gandhifs projection as PM candidate will enthuse the cadre, attract young voters and serve to contain Modifs rising popularity.

Though the Congress vice president has been deeply involved in the partyfs poll preparations, he has not shown any interest in the PMfs post or even in joining the Cabinet.

But a recent remark by the 43-year-old Gandhi at a rally in Rampur ? that ga government of the youth will be formed in 2014h ? has fuelled the clamour within the party for Rahul to be their PM candidate.

The Congress officially maintains that it is not party gpracticeh to announce its PM hopeful but does not rule out an exception this time.

gWe all expect that Rahul Gandhi will take up leadership of the party and the country,h party spokesman PC Chacko told HT on Thursday.

Accusing the Congress of nepotism, the Opposition has relentlessly been taking potshots at Rahul. BJP general secretary Amit Shah recently said: gCongress thinks the PMfs chair is Pappufs (a reference to Rahul) birthright. But this is a democracy, you need peoplefs blessings, and peoplefs blessings are with Narendra Modi.h

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already declared Gandhi as the ideal choice for PM. gI have always maintained that Rahul Gandhi would be an ideal choice for the PM post after 2014 elections. I will be very happy to work under him,h he said last month.

Even finance minister P Chidambaram said in a recent interview: gThe time has come for the torch to be passed on to a new and younger generation.h

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