New Delhi, Feb 16: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Saturday made his displeasure known to leaders who tried to please him by demanding that he be declared the party’s prime ministerial candidate, party sources said.
According to the sources, during the review meeting with state leaders here, Gandhi snubbed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna for demanding that Gandhi be named as the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections to reap political dividends.
“I don’t want to hear such things in future… we need to focus on the organisation,” the sources quoted Gandhi as saying.
Other leaders present in the meeting initially tried to thump their desks in support of Bahuguna’s suggestion but quickly stopped sensing Gandhi’s mood.
Making his priority clear, Gandhi cited an example saying “there are 200 chief ministerial candidates in Uttar Pradesh and even some candidates for the post of UN secretary general”.
“Infighting” and “too many leaders” cost the Congress dear in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls where the party could improve its tally by just six seats from 22 in 2007 to 28 in the 403-member house despite a high-pitched campaign led by Gandhi.
Later, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi asserted that Manmohan Singh was the party’s prime minister till 2014 and a decision on his successor will be taken at the appropriate time.
“We will decide the issue when the time comes,” Dwivedi told reporters after the meeting.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had declared incumbent Manmohan Singh as prime ministerial candidate ahead of the polls.