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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Is Cong inching closer to naming Rahul PM candidate? Clarity in Jan

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 23, 2013
First Published: 19:56 IST(23/12/2013) | Last Updated: 11:54 IST(25/12/2013)

The assembly elections laid the carpet for the Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2014. Here is how Hindustan Times tracked the elections.

A decision on announcing Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the party’s prime ministerial nominee will be taken on or before the January 17 session of the All India Congress Committee, a senior party leader has told HT.

“The issue is under active consideration, though it can go either way. But there will be clarity by or before the AICC session,” the leader, who did not want to be named, added.

The leader dismissed speculation around other names, such IT czar Nandan Nilekani, being in the running and termed such talk “silly”.

“Until May 2014 it is Manmohan Singh and after that it is Rahul Gandhi. The only question is whether you announce it today or after the election.”

The party leadership and cadre have been increasingly favouring declaring the Amethi MP as the party’s PM candidate ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections due by May.

After the drubbing that the Congress got in the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi assembly elections, many party leaders believe projecting Gandhi from now on will act as a morale booster for the cadre.

On January 19, 2013, Gandhi had taken charge as the party vice-president.

Declaring Gandhi the PM candidate will draw the battle lines for the 2014 general elections, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having already named Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi its pick for the top post.

Gandhi, on his part, has said becoming prime minister is not his priority. Crucially, he has not ruled himself out either.

He is reportedly open to the idea of being declared the PM candidate if it is the opinion of other senior leaders.

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