Congress Ministers on Friday downplayed Manmohan Singh’s remarks appearing not to rule out his being in the race for Prime Minister for a third term but party spokesman Rashid Alvi said people had a desire that Rahul Gandhi should be PM.

Union Minister Rajiv Shukla remarked that Dr. Singh had said nothing to suggest he was ready for a third term. “In my view, he was responding to a pointed question. And what he said? He only said that when the bridge comes we will decide how to cross it.”

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told PTI: “There is nothing to add to or subtract from what the Prime Minister has said. He was responding to a hypothetical question and it not essential to unnecessarily interpret the PM’s statement.” Mr. Alvi said: “The Prime Minister’s statement is very clear. No clarification is needed on it and till 2014 Manmohan Singhji is the Prime Minister.” After the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the newly-elected party MPs and Congress leadership would take a decision on who would be the Prime Minister.

Mr. Alvi, at the same time, added: “Workers of the Congress have the desire from their heart that Rahulji should be the Prime Minister.” Dr. Singh’s cryptic remark leaving open the possibility of his being in the race for a third term prompted the BJP to call him a “reluctant” politician who had shown his true “political colours.”

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