Congress dilemma: To name or not to name Rahul as PM candidate

Party divided; mother Sonia Gandhi’s call

Agency Report | New Delhi | 16 January, 2014 | 08:40 PM

At a time when the fight is getting fierce, it is unlikely that the Congress party, particularly mother Sonia Gandhi is going to allow yuvraj Rahul Gandhi to be hung out to dry. After all the Congress never announces its PM or CM candidate, will be the argument.

Amid divergent views in the Congress on whether party vice president Rahul Gandhi should be projected as the prime ministerial candidate, the apex Congress Working Committee (CWC) will be meeting here on Thursday.

It will finalise the draft resolution for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting on Friday. Thursday’s meeting may also discuss various suggestions on the issue of projecting a prime ministerial candidate, party sources said.

Congress on Wednesday maintained suspense on possible announcement of Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. Party sources said a section of the party is in favour of projecting the prime ministerial candidate, but another group has reservations over the move.

They said some leaders favour the Congress vice president’s elevation as prime minister, and not merely as prime ministerial candidate for this year’s Lok Sabha elections.

A party leader, not wanting to be identified, on Wednesday said Gandhi was “likely” to be projected as the prime ministerial candidate at the AICC meeting. Sources said those pushing for declaring Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate feel it would help boost the morale of party workers.

These leaders feel the Congress should not appear faceless when the Bharatiya Janata Party has Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate and the Aam Aadmi Party could project Arvind Kejriwal as its face for the general polls.

The sources said those against the projection feel the party was late in making a move and Gandhi would have to do a lot of catching up. Congress leaders also say after the party’s rout in four assembly elections, its prospects do not appear bright in the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said it was for the party to decide on the issue. “Rahul Gandhi has already said he would accept any responsibility given to him. It is for the party to take a call and for him to accept,” Ahmed said. (IANS)