Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi (Photo: IANS)
New Delhi: The Congress party Friday hoped Rahul Gandhi will become the prime minister after the general elections this year, amid growing speculation that the party will soon declare him its prime ministerial candidate.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at his press conference Friday that he will not seek the third term and will hand over the baton to a new prime minister after the Lok Sabha elections. He also said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has “outstanding credentials” to be nominated the prime ministerial candidate.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said there was no doubt that Gandhi’s name will come first whenever the question of prime ministership crops up in the Congress.

But he said political parties have certain formalities and recalled party president Sonia Gandhi’s remarks last month that the candidate will be declared at an opportune time.

A session of the All India Congress Committee will be held Jan 17 and there is growing speculation that Rahul Gandhi may be named the party’s candidate for the country’s top post.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari Friday said the party hoped that Gandhi becomes the prime minister after the elections.

He said Rahul Gandhi was a “natural leader” of the party.

“From the point of view of the Congress, we do hope that Rahul Gandhi, who is the natural leader of the party, would be the rightful person, once bestowed with blessings of people, to be the carrier of that baton,” Tewari said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for propping Gandhi’s name as the prime ministerial candidate, as well as for criticising Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi.

“I think he (Manmohan Singh) was only expressing what we all feel very passionately as far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, and very strongly and bitterly as far as Modi is concerned,” Khurshid told reporters.

“We are grateful to our prime minister. He has on the stage expressed what we have felt for a very long time,” he said.

Source: IANS