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Updated: June 18, 2013 03:43 IST

Rahul can step into my shoes, says Manmohan

Smita Gupta
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chairman, Rajya Sabha and Vice-President Hamid Ansari after taking oath as member of Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Monday.
PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chairman, Rajya Sabha and Vice-President Hamid Ansari after taking oath as member of Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Monday.

Experience trumped youth in the UPA’s choice of new entrants into the Union Council of Ministers, with six of the eight born before independence, one, a month after, and the youngest in 1953. Indeed, there did not appear to be any imprint of party vice president Rahul Gandhi in the choice of new faces at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony.

If there was a message, it came from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself who expressed confidence in the UPA getting “a third go”. Speaking to journalists at Rashtrapati Bhawan after the swearing in ceremony, he stressed that the people would “again repose their faith” in the alliance. Neither Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, nor the nascent Federal Front, the Prime Minister — responding to questions — said, posed a “threat” or “challenge” to the UPA.

In Rahul Gandhi, the Congress had a “natural leader” who, he hoped, would lead the UPA alliance to the next elections. Asked if he would be willing to step aside for Mr. Gandhi, if the UPA returned to power, he said, “I will be very happy to see Rahul step into my shoes… I have always believed Rahul is fit enough to be a leader of the UPA - that is not a question of any speculation.”

Pressed on the Modi factor, the Prime Minister said, “Modi is no threat to us… The people of India have to draw their own conclusions, what Narendra Modi stands for, and what his elevation means.”

Responding to questions on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he said, “In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies -- the situation evolves…he (Nitish Kumar) is a secular leader.” He, however, refused to “speculate” on the possibility of the Congress having an alliance with the JD(U), even as he said that he would “like all secular minded persons and parties to work together to give this country a clean, secular government”.

The PM was clearly in election mode. Indeed, even though his new ministers are not young, the selection did send out a few political signals: with two additions, the troubled state of Andhra Pradesh that gave the Congress 33 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 now has 13 ministers, of whom only three are from the Telangana region.

Rajasthan, which goes to the polls at the end of the year, has been given two new cabinet ministers, one to replace Dr C. P. Joshi, who resigned from the cabinet on Saturday and is now a party general secretary. Sis Ram Ola (b. 1927) gets labour and employment and Girija Vyas (b. 1946) urban poverty and alleviation, the slot vacated by Ajay Maken, who now heads the Congress’ communications division.

Ms. Vyas has, in the past, headed the National Women’s Commission, chaired the Congress’s media department and been chief whip of her party in Parliament.

In the last six months, the Congress’s chances of retaining Rajasthan have revived, but the dominant Jaat community remains opposed to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The party, therefore, hopes that Mr.Ola, a prominent Jaat leader, who has been a minister both in the State and at the Centre on more than one occasion, will fill the breach.

Karnataka, which the Congress wrested from the BJP in the Assembly elections earlier this year, has been rewarded. Oscar Fernandes (b. 1941), who Manikrao Gavit (b. 1934), a tribal leader from Maharashtra, who has won nine consecutive Lok Sabha elections, returns to the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, while the three time-MP from Punjab, Santosh Choudhury (b.1944), is the new Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu (b. 1947) — who had once defeated P. Chidambaram in a Lok Sabha election in Sivaganga — is the new Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. Interestingly, Birendra Singh, who was dropped as general secretary on Sunday and was expected to be included in the Cabinet, did not find a berth. As speculation swirled in the capital — was he hobbled by a rival or had someone dug up dirt on him? — the Congress announced that he would be a member of the Congress Working Committee. quit as party general secretary on Sunday, is the new Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, while Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who had hoped to become Chief Minister, has been elevated as Railway Minister. Of the four southern States, the BJP has a hold only in Karnataka. The Congress wants to ensure that it replicates the success it had in the Assembly elections in the Lok Sabha polls due next year.

Manikrao Gavit (b. 1934), a tribal leader from Maharashtra, who has won nine consecutive Lok Sabha elections, returns to the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, while the three time-MP from Punjab, Santosh Choudhury (b.1944), is the new Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu (b. 1947) — who had once defeated P. Chidambaram in a Lok Sabha election in Sivaganga — is the new Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.

Interestingly, Birendra Singh, who was dropped as general secretary on Sunday and was expected to be included in the Cabinet, did not find a berth. As speculation swirled in the capital — was he hobbled by a rival or had someone dug up dirt on him? — the Congress announced that he would be a member of the Congress Working Committee

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No congress supporter in these 30 comments. Writing clear on the wall. Congress headed for its worst election since democracy in india. But i agree with pm about Rahul being natural leader. Because now a days a natural leader is one who can manage 272 MPs. And who better than a gandhi to do that. They don't even need to run after supporters, supporters run after them. Eg SP, BSP, RJD, etc.

from:  Sachin
Posted on: Jun 21, 2013 at 19:16 IST

Dr. Singh should step down and not be a candidate for the next election. He is not willing to lead and is setting himself as a seat warmer for Rahul. What India needs is a self confidant leader and not Dr Singh how has to get direction every time.

from:  Thiru Ramanathan
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 22:54 IST

Dr. Manmohan Singh,is no competent person to suggest the Prime Minster of India. The Indian people will decide a real competent Indian to be its next Prime minster. As for Dr.Singh he is best with his mouth closed.

from:  A.Seshanathan
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 20:07 IST

Rahul Gandhi is not a natural leader but for COngress he is a leader
naturally.

from:  Chinmay
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 17:50 IST

It is a pity that MMS wants to work as PM under the Chaitmanship of Rahul whom he has
certified as natural leader just because of 'Gandhi' tag and who is of half his age. This can
however in hereditary corporate world which MMS wants to transplant in democratic
governance also. Psychophancy does not suit to such an international economist PM which
ordinary Congress politicians practice.

from:  MvjRao
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 14:34 IST

Is Dr.Manmohan Singh angling for another term, if Rahul Gandhi is not ready as yet to
ascend the throne? There can be no other explanation of his statement that a raw young
man with no administrative experience of any sort except as the VP of his party can "step
into my shoes".

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 13:57 IST

The Shoes would be too big for Rahul. But, we all know MMS walks on his Hands.

from:  NRavi
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 13:51 IST

When will democracy thrive in congress. let the grassroot level worker of congress choose its leader.

from:  Hanumantha Reddy
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 13:43 IST

DR MM, PM has said thatRahul can get into his shoes at any time,as though it is just handing over heriardatry property of Nehru-indira gandhi dynasty and when there are other seniors in the union ministry.
as if others do not have any right.Rahul is just young and needs some more experience,and he is yet to understand the length and breadth of india and has to face the enesuing election.Let PM dr MM remain to face the election and win the same.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 10:46 IST

Manmohan is hinting that Rahul should play the role of puppeteer like his mother with
operations from the background and some one like him can be the front as a PM. Otherwise,
when he himself could not find candidates below the age of 60 years for the cabinet even in
the latest reshuffle, how can accept a forty-something as UPA chief?? He is offering himself
for a third term to work under the 'natural leader' from the dynastic family who is half his age.
What a downfall for such a great 'economist' administrator and a party whose only asset is
unflinching loyalty to the Gandhi family!!!


from:  MvjRao
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 09:30 IST

Prime Minister is only showing or exhibiting his slave mentality towards a particular family for allowing him to be the Prime Minister of this country for almost 10 years. In what way is he going to be happy if Rahul Gandhi becomes Prime Minister ? Will he be unhappy if mr. Chidambaram or any other experience person become PM ? This type of mentality is ruining our country . Every party follows this principle . It is a shame .

from:  Sukumar Talpady
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 08:26 IST

By now we all know that according to Congress mouthpiece, Rahul baba
"can" step into the PM's question. The cliffhanger question is, does
Rahul baba WANT to? India is great to allow subvert democrazy.

from:  Haritha
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 04:30 IST

I want to respect him as a person and personally, I have no enmity with
the congress but then when he endorses that Rahul Gandhi as fit
enough to be the PM of India, I just lose faith in his intellect.

from:  Rohit Sharma
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 03:43 IST

The position of PM is not something to be bequeathed. This just shows
the mindset of Indian politicians that considers the Nation and many
states as family business, to be passed on from one generation to
another within the family. Dr Singh is very disappointing, to say the
least.

from:  ramu
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 03:31 IST

I have high regards for Dr. Manmohan Singh, but such statements about Rahul Gandhi to be a suitable PM of India - Contradicts the PM's image we have. I am sure that if there is any point system for selection of PM, Rahul Gandhi could be the last option... He is from a ruling family but he has to learn a lot before taking the responsible position of a PM.

from:  Syed Munawar
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 03:26 IST

You must be kidding right?

from:  KumarUSA
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 03:21 IST

whats prime minister post ? is it a family run business that you transfer from you to your son when ever he is ready? whats is his eligibility to be PM ?In the times when Manmohan Singh's rating itself is low ,what should we think of the person who he refers?

from:  kk
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 03:15 IST

Rahul not fit for PM post. Ask him to contest as a independent candidate without the colours of congress. He will loose his deposit even.

from:  Osman
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 02:29 IST

If he doesn't want the job, just say it so (even I am dying to become the PM of India). People have given him the power, but he is behaving like a reluctant superhero, who wishes he never had these powers. Who is Rahul, did he even run a Panchayat in India and now we are bending head over heels to make him PM. At least MMS ran the RBI during our toughest times, the 90's.

from:  Nitin
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 02:06 IST

Manmohan is right. Modi is no threat and in fact, it is Manmohan and
people like him are threat to India. Elected from the back door, with no
idea of their own, Having no independent thoughts, these are the people
who are leading India and they are the real threat to India moving
forward.

from:  Krishna Shetty
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 01:00 IST

"natural leader for congress"? what does it mean? Are those born in Nehru-Gandhi family natural leaders of congress (and thus Prime Ministers of India!!) or is it Just Rahul Gandhi? Even if it is so, what is "natural" in this? Is it that members of Congress can accept only 'that' family members as their leaders 'naturally' and everyone else are unnatural leaders for them?

from:  Hamsa
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 00:23 IST

I am no modi admirer but what has Rahul Gandhi done for the country or even for
the UPA as a leader? He has done nothing except travel for party rallies as a
spokesperson. There is no way one can vote for him on the basis of his hollow
speeches. Unless he does some ground work to show what he's capable of, how can
one repose faith on him? The blind faith shown on him by our PM laughable. If
congress really wanted to nominate him for the highest post, he should have had a
credible resume by now.

from:  Siddharth Pandit
Posted on: Jun 18, 2013 at 00:05 IST

PM's indulgence in sycophancy vis a vis Rahul Gandhi's non existent leadership qualities, natural so to say, makes me feel very sad and to hang my head in shame and despair. How can an intellectual like him be so insensitive to the extreme plight of his countrymen in serving the narrow and selfish interests of his party's supremo and her family, relegating the national interests to the background in the process?

from:  Murtuza
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 23:39 IST

One very simple question .. what are the qualifications of Mr. Gandhi? while we are at it, can some one also lists his achievements so far?

from:  JayP
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 22:29 IST

We need a talented and mature prime minister, not a trainee. Indian economy will go down with the rest of the world and at current rate of progress we will not survive !!!!

from:  Sekharan
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 22:15 IST

In the event of Mr.Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister, what will be Dr. Singh's
contribution to the nation, as a member of the Rajya Sabha,since Dr.Singh is known to be a
man of few words? Or, will he become a natural choice for the post of Finance Minister under
Rahul Gandhi, and if so,will he accept such a position?
As far as the people of India drawing their own conclusion on what they stand for, it goes
wothout saying that they stand for a corruption free,performing government.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 22:07 IST

This is a well expected remark by Mr. Singh on congress scion Rahul Gandhi. Atleast how can he dare to go against what his instructors are dreaming for so long. For the sake of obidiency he can even go for the third term if they instruct him to do so. At this crisis situation the country is facing on almost all fronts, India cannot afford to have Mr Silent/Obidient PM for the third term.

from:  Rohit Derhgawen
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 22:01 IST

"I always believe we will have a third go at the elections as the UPA and people will again repose their faith in us" that is just taken for granted.

from:  Lijo Philip
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 20:59 IST

It is a matter of great debate why everybody including Manmohan Singh is trying to establish Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister of India. India is a democratic country and not a monarchy where a young scion of a family is coronated irrespective of his capabilities of leading the nation.Rahul Gandhi has shown,so far, nothing which could make him qualify for such a coveted post. Firstly, he should take a ministerial portfolio to gain the confidence of people at large.Moreover people around him and Madam should really ponder over twice the idea of mooting Rahul as Prime Ministerial candidate avoiding sycophancy.

from:  Kanishk Chandra
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 20:55 IST

If learned people like our PM can't get our country out of troubles, then people who have absolutely no experience and knowledge about politics are bound to lead our country into hell. Rahul Gandhi as PM is a true joke. Its the most visible indicator that India is ruled by Dynasty.

from:  Nirmal P.
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 20:53 IST

Rahul Gandhi..Manmohan Singh..make no difference..all are birds of the same feather..!!

from:  Sumeet Gokhale
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013 at 20:25 IST
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