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Never given a thought to becoming PM, says Rahul

Wrapping up his visit to Orissa, AICC General secretary Rahul Gandhi says the question of becoming PM has never entered his mind, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.
Hindustan Times | By Soumyajit Pattnaik, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 03:08 AM IST

AICC General secretary Rahul Gandhi, wrapping up his four-day visit to Orissa on Monday, said the question of becoming Prime Minister has never entered his mind.

Asked whether he would be projected as the prime ministerial candidate in the next elections, Rahul said: “I don’t spend time thinking about it. At present, it’s my endeavour to run the Youth Congress democratically.” “First, many people don’t know how to join politics even if they are interested in working for society. Second, there are no parameters on how to progress in politics. At present, the criteria for promotion are rather random. Promotions in the Youth Congress will be made transparent,” he added.

Rahul said he disliked the Lal Bati culture, which makes politicians think they are more important than others.

Speaking about what he’d learnt on his visit, Rahul said, “There is a big disconnect in Orissa as certain regions and communities are left to themselves. The government’s development strategy seems to lack coherence.”

Asked to rate CM Naveen Patnaik, he said, “I’m not in the business of giving marks to anyone. It’s for the people to decide.”

However, he criticised the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in Orissa. “There is no delivery of NREGA jobs in the state.” In contrast, the NREGA has benefited many people in Andhra Pradesh, he pointed out.

The Gandhi scion also pointed out that the media’s christening of his tour as the “Discover India” trip is misleading as such visits will continue. “One of my main purposes is reducing the distance between politicians and the people. I have to be close to people.”

On bauxite mining in Niyamiri Hills, Rahul said, “In my personal view, mining in those hills will destroy the ecology and tribal culture of the region.”

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