News / Asia

India's Rahul Gandhi Hints at PM Role if Party Wins Election

Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi (R) speaks as her son, lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, watches during a news conference in New Delhi, Dec. 8, 2013.
Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi (R) speaks as her son, lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, watches during a news conference in New Delhi, Dec. 8, 2013.
Reuters
Rahul Gandhi, the scion of a dynasty that has led India for most of its history, suggested in an interview published on Tuesday he was ready to be prime minister if his party won forthcoming elections, his first indication that he wants the job.

Gandhi's Congress party heads the coalition that has governed India for a decade. Buffeted by corruption scandals, low economic growth and high inflation, the party is facing strong opposition challenges in the election due by May.

“I am a soldier of Congress. Whatever order is given to me I will follow it. Whatever Congress says, I will follow it,” Gandhi, 43, said in a rare interview with the Hindi-language Dainik Bhaskar, which describes itself as India's most widely read daily.

Gandhi, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers in post-independence India, made the remarks ahead of a party meeting on Friday focusing on the election.

Current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this month ruled out serving another term if his party won the election and threw his support to Gandhi, praising his “outstanding credentials”.

Many party workers, including senior ministers, are pushing for Gandhi's name to be announced as prime ministerial candidate. A section of the party, however, thinks that would expose him to a confrontational campaign against opposition leader Narendra Modi, whose style is seen as more dynamic.

Gandhi said Congress does not traditionally announce prime ministerial candidates during a campaign, but said he would respect the party's decision.

If nominated, Gandhi would take on Modi, the candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is campaigning on a platform to end the red tape and graft that have bedeviled the Congress-led coalition.

Compared with the relatively untested Gandhi, Modi has years of experience as the chief minister of western Gujarat state, where he has built a reputation as an efficient, business-savvy administrator, though critics deride him as authoritarian.

Gandhi said a “one-man” government was not in the national interest. “The government should not function according to the whims and fancy of a single person,” he told the newspaper.

Opposition leader tops opinion polls

Opinion polls put Modi in the lead, even as he has been unable to shake off allegations over anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002.

At least 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims. Modi denies wrongdoing and a Supreme Court investigation found no evidence to prosecute him.

The Congress meeting is also expected to inject life into its slow-moving campaign. At the same meeting last year, Rahul was made party vice-president. His mother, Sonia Gandhi is  party president.

Congress leaders are also worried about the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), formed by an anti-corruption crusader less than a year ago. The AAP defeated Congress in New Delhi in a state election last month and plans to field candidates across  India, increasing the chances of a weak coalition emerging from the vote.

Gandhi has in recent months railed against corruption to win back voters who backed the AAP and appeal to young audiences. He sought to distance himself from the AAP in the interview.

“Congress is a strong and progressive organization which has changed the nature and role of politics in the country and we aim to continue the trend,” he said.

“The Aam Aadmi Party has also worked toward this direction, but we are two different entities with different ideology and different style of working.”

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rinku from: delhi
January 15, 2014 2:57 AM
It is good because rahul gandhi played a better role in congress party.and if he become tha prime minister of india they come to india in good way.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
January 15, 2014 12:23 AM
Is this a case of new wine in an Old bottle or A new bottle with an Old? wine ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More