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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.