Rahul Gandhi today shared his agenda with MPs from his party in an impromptu session. "The Prime Minister's post is not my priority. I believe in long-term politics," the 42-year-old said, while stressing that the Congress's infamous "high command culture" must be over-written with power being distributed through the party.
Barely three hours later, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi referred to Mr Gandhi as "the high command" of the Congress and said that while Mr Gandhi may be prone to "sacrifice," the party workers want and desire Mr Gandhi for Prime Minister.
Mr Gandhi's discussion with MPs began at Parliament's Central hall at 1 pm after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day. As others heard of the dialogue, they rushed to join in. A few journalists were in the audience.
Mr Gandhi said his focus is strengthening his party ahead of next year's general election. He did not comment on who would be named PM if the Congress should return to power for a third term.
In January, he was formally anointed Vice-President of the Congress, though for years, he has been treated as the second-most influential member of the party; the first is his mother, Sonia, who is Congress president.
Mr Gandhi said that power within the Congress must be equitably distributed. He said the centralisation of power began in the 70s when the party was helmed by Indira Gandhi, his grandmother. "She was under severe assault...I knew her and if I would have been in her place, I would have also done likewise," he said.