Prime-minister-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi to lead Congress fight during 2014 elections

Rahul Gandhi

In signals that he could well be the next Prime Ministerial candidate, Congress on Monday declared that Rahul Gandhi will lead UPA's campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and take up an "important responsibility" in the party "very soon".

Congress spokesperson P C Chacko appeared confident about UPA-III with the party planning to go for both ties ups before and after the polls in a big way.

To a specific question whether Gandhi will be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the polls, he said that issue will come up after the elections and it was for party MPs to decide.

He also added that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the helm till 2014. "This has no relation. He is the Prime Minister. This government will continue till 2014. He is the Prime Minister till 2014," Chacko said when asked about Manmohan Singh's fate if Rahul is to be projected in the next elections.

To a query on what will be the role Congress President Sonia Gandhi after Rahul takes up a party position, he said "she is the President now. She will be the patron. She will be the supreme leader of the party".

Chacko said that Rahul has agreed to assume more responsibilities following "overwhelming" demand by partymen.

"The party is overwhelmingly in favour of Rahul Gandhi taking a larger responsibility. He was not very willing. Now he has agreed to it. He will lead UPA's 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign," he said.

Addressing a public meeting in Vadodara, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had said yesterday "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".

In a departure from the go-it alone theory propounded by some in the party in the past, Chacko said "we recognise the necessity of coalition politics".

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