Rahul to lead Congress in 2014 general election

Rahul to lead Congress in 2014 general election

The Congress on Monday fell short of declaring Rahul Gandhi the Prime Ministerial candidate saying instead he would be leading the party in the 2014 general election.

In an apparent indication that the party may reach out to more regional outfits for alliance, the Congress also announced that it would consider both pre and post-election alliances under the aegis of UPA-III. “Rahul will be leading the 2014 election campaign.
Elections will be led by him. The party is overwhelmingly in favour of Rahul Gandhi taking a larger responsibility. (Earlier) He was not very willing. Now he has agreed to it,” party spokesperson P C Chacko said.

He, however, refrained from giving a direct reply when asked if Rahul would be the party’s next prime ministerial candidate.  “That is up to him… The issue will come up after the elections and it is for the party MPs to decide,” Chacko said.

When asked about the role of the Congress president after Rahul takes up a more prominent position, Chacko said she will remain the “supreme leader” of the party.
“She is the President (of the party) now. She will be the patron,” he said.

When asked what will be the position of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012, he said: “This has no relation. He is the Prime Minister. This government will continue till 2014. He is the Prime Minister till 2014.”

Despite the party’s reluctance to declare Rahul its Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 elections, he remains the primary choice of several party leaders. “Congress is clear on the suitability and capability of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister. Senior and young party leaders have been projecting him for this post,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said while addressing a public meeting at Vadodara in the poll-bound Gujarat on Sunday.

Rahul was recently made the head of the Election Coordination Committee of the party, constituted by Congress president in view of the 2014 general elections. He is tipped to be made either party’s working president or vice president.

On Congress’s plan to go for pre-poll and post-poll alliance in 2014 elections, a senior leader said the party now “recognises the coalition politics” of the country. “We are now recognising the reality of coalition politics in India. We did not recognise it in the past. We cannot be unrealistic. We will focus on pre-poll and post-poll election allies,” he said.

On speculations about mid-term polls, the party leader said Congress president was not in favour of going for an early poll.

A six-member Pre-Poll Alliance Sub Group of the party, headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, has already been set up to look into the issue of pre-poll and post-poll alliances. “Our leaders will discuss with the coalition partners in the UPA and take a decision on continuing the alliance,” another senior Congress leader said.

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