Congress scion Rahul Gandhi will lead the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the ruling party said on Monday.
“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 election campaign for 2014,” Congress spokesperson P C Chacko told reporters here.
The party is working on garnering both pre-poll and post-poll alliances, he added.
To a specific question whether Gandhi will be projected as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 polls, Chacko said that issue would come up after the elections and according to Congress convention, it was for party MPs (members of Parliament) to decide upon.
Asked about Manmohan Singh’s fate if Gandhi was to be projected in the next elections, the spokesperson said Prime Minister Singh would be at the helm of the government till 2014. “He is the prime minister. This government will continue till 2014. He is the prime minister till 2014.”
To a query on what will be the role of Congress President Sonia Gandhi after Gandhi takes up a higher party position, Chacko said: "She is the president now. She will be the patron. She will be the supreme leader of the party.”
The Congress has for some time now been talking about Gandhi assuming greater responsibilities in the party. In poll-bound Gujarat, Sushil Kumar Shinde 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.”
Significantly, Gandhi is the guiding force behind the Congress’ Chintan shivir (brainstorming camp), slated for January 18-19 in Jaipur.
In a departure from its earlier stand, alliances with other political parties will be an issue which will be deliberated at the session. It was Gandhi’s decision that made the Congress decide on going it alone in the assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, a strategy which boomeranged.