‘Selecting nominee before poll is undemocratic’

In his clearest sign of intent yet, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he would consider the offer of top post if his party came to power and the MPs picked him.

“If our party comes to power and the MPs select me, I will definitely consider it. In the Congress, elected MPs select the Prime Minister,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi said selecting a nominee before elections was not democratic, but was part of a personality cult. Manmohan Singh was chosen Prime Minister by the elected representatives, he pointed out, reasoning that the choice was a right vested with MPs.

At the recent CWC meeting, party president Sonia Gandhi rejected demands by various leaders to anoint Mr. Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, arguing that the party had no such tradition.

Talking to reporters at Amethi on the concluding day of his two-day tour of his constituency, where Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas has been campaigning against him for the past fortnight, Mr. Gandhi said there was too much of personality cult in Uttar Pradesh. He blamed the Bahujan Samaj Party and the ruling Samjwadi Party for lack of development in Amethi.

Mr. Vishwas has termed Mr. Gandhi’s visit a “political picnic” and plans to battle it out from Amethi on the issue of development. Mr. Gandhi, however, dismissed his challenge, arguing that his party believed in working quietly and not in blowing its own trumpet.

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