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Cong scotches talk of Rahul becoming PM

The Congress says that both Sonia Gandhi and her son dislike “sycophancy”. Saroj Nagi reports.
Hindustan Times | By Saroj Nagi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 16, 2008 01:50 AM IST

The Congress on Tuesday clamped down on talk of Rahul Gandhi as PM, saying the “speculation” was ‘inappropriate’, and that both Sonia Gandhi and her son disliked “sycophancy”.

HRD Minister Arjun Singh had said on Monday that there was no problem in projecting Rahul as prime minister. On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said there was “nothing wrong” with the suggestion.

“Everywhere a new leadership is coming. Leadership will always go to younger people. It is a universal truth… If Arjun Singh has suggested this, there is nothing wrong in it,” Mukherjee said.

On Tuesday, the Congress appeared concerned that the chatter might create uncertainty in Manmohan Singh’s government. “We don’t want any element of uncertainty with the office of the PM. We want to zealously protect political, economic and social stability of the PM, the government and the Congress party,” media head Veerappa Moily said.

Spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said: “It is not appropriate to spread political speculation. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi have always kept away from an environment of sychophancy”. She added that the PM’s team had a “magnificent record of performance-oriented achievements”.

Arjun Singh called on Sonia after Natarajan spoke, but denied he had been “summoned” in connection with what he had said. “I have nothing against Manmohan Singh. I am in his cabinet. I know the conventions of being a cabinet minister and will continue to follow them,” he said.

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