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Don't ask me on PM issue, says Rahul Gandhi.

New Delhi, March 6 -- "Asking me whether you want to be Prime Minister is a wrong question," Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday.

The Congress Vice President made this suo motu remark while interacting with party MPs amid growing clamour in Congress for projecting him as its Prime Ministerial face before the next Lok Sabha elections.

Rahul Gandhi also gave signals that he was against the 'high command culture', saying that he wants to empower more and more people than a handful, who call the shots. The 42-year-old leader told the MPs in no uncertain terms that the organisation was his priority and he was preparing for a long haul.

"Today I see how MPs feel without power and it is the same story in all the parties, be it Congress or BJP. I want to empower the 720-odd MPs in Parliament. "I want to give voice to the middle tier...empower the middle-level leaders. There are some parties in India which are run by one leader (BSP), two leaders (SP), five to six leaders (BJP) and 15 to 20 leaders (Congress). My priority is that I want to empower the MPs as also the 5,000-odd legislators in various states," he said.

He also hinted that he has no immediate marriage plans, saying, "If I get married and have children, I will be status quoist and will like my children to take my place." Rahul Gandhi said the high command culture started in the 70s when "my grandmother was under severe assault...I knew her and if I would have been in her place, I would have also done likewise".

He gave ample signals that he wanted to change the organisation drastically from top to bottom and his ideal was Mahatma Gandhi and he believed in the "Nishkam Karma" of the Gita. Calling the Mahatma "my guru", he said Gandhiji could inspire people as also the rank and file of Congress as they knew that he was not one who is hankering after power.

With Rahul Gandhi downplaying the prospect of being projected as a prime ministerial candidate of the Congress, his party claimed high moral ground on the issue saying this contrasts it with other parties, where people are "fighting for posts". Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi at the same time said as far as party workers are concerned, they want to see Rahul as prime minister and "I am sure that one day, Rahul Gandhi will become the prime minister".

Alvi said Rahul's statement about the prime ministership issue betrays that he is not after posts. "Both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have proved it. That is the difference between us and other parties, where everybody is fighting for posts," he said.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Mar 6, 2013
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