On his birthday on Sunday, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was greeted by party leaders and others, including Uma Bharti, who recently rejoined the BJP.

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said it was time Mr. Gandhi became the Prime Minister. He also wanted Indira Gandh's grandson to get married this year.

With Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh due early next year, the Congress utilised Mr. Gandhi's birthday to reach out to farmers, celebrating it as “Kisan Adhikar Diwas' (farmers' rights day). The celebrations came in the backdrop of the agitation Mr. Gandhi staged recently at Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida over the land acquisition issue.

Mr. Singh said Mr. Gandhi was now a mature person with sound political instincts and could become the Prime Minister.

He told PTI in Bhopal:

“I think it is time that Rahul becomes the Prime Minister. Rahul is now 41, and he has been working for the party for the last seven to eight years. However, all this will be decided by him only.

“But Rahul is getting to know ground realities, and this nation is very big and till one doesn't know the ground realities, one cannot work properly.”

On his wish to see Mr. Gandhi tie the knot, he said: “We wish him on his birthday. This year, he may reach new heights. We wish to see him as a groom this year.”

Ms. Bharti wished him a very long and happy life. At the same time, she said, he should learn to respect opponents. She urged him to respect the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, did.

“I wish Rahul Gandhi live a long and healthy life but he should avoid making [political] errors. I want Rahul to learn from his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru how to respect your opponents,” she told journalists.

“I will gift him today a Nehru's book, in which he praised the RSS for its contribution to the country and invited it to participate in the Republic Day parade,” she said.

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