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Updated: March 5, 2013 19:56 IST

Power should be with more people, not just handful: Rahul

    PTI
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

“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.

Mr. 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.”

Mr. 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.

Mr. Gandhi said he could take a holistic view of the scenario as regards party politics because "I am a parachute", implying he owed his leadership to the membership of the first family in Congress.

He regretted that all political parties have been designed in a manner that prevents the youth from getting key positions at a time when they are seeking a greater say in political affairs.

Stressing that he wanted to change the picture in this regard, he suggested that this was necessary to avoid an "explosion".

"At one point, the pressure from the youth will be such that there will be an explosion," he said.

When an MP spoke about the change brought about by Barack Obama in US politics, he said that has happened in America because it is a developed state where systems have evolved. "Obama will not have an effect here," he said.

Mr. Gandhi, who has eight years of experience in politics, said that the ideas of applying western model in Indian conditions will not work. He said this he came to know while interacting with people in the villages.

He ignored a question on whether he planned to visit Wharton.

The Congress Vice President's remarks on the issue of PM candidate came at a time when BJP is experiencing a keen tussle among its top leaders with a section with the party pitching for Narendra Modi.

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