- Rahul Gandhi was asked whether he saw himself as Congress' PM candidate
- He did not rule himself out from the crowd of opposition PM candidates
- This is on the country, not on me, Rahul Gandhi said
Rahul Gandhi, asked whether he saw himself as the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress, said "it is on the country". What many observers heard in that statement was that he did not rule himself out from the crowd of opposition prime ministerial candidates.
At the launch of the Congress manifesto for the national election starting April 11, Rahul Gandhi was asked whether he saw himself as the prime ministerial candidate of the party.
"This is on the country, not on me. I do my work. You have to ask people of the country," said the 48-year-old Congress chief who has three prime ministers in his family, great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi.
The Congress has avoided the question, calling it a collective decision to be taken by opposition alliance partners.
While campaigning for the Karnataka polls last year, Rahul Gandhi had said he was "ready to be PM", but for that his party had to win a majority.
The Congress later clarified that it would not name Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate for the election and coalition partners would decide.
The opposition's potential prime ministerial candidates has been a running joke with the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently joked about a "longer queue" in 2019 than 2014.
Some opposition leaders lke DMK's MK Stalin, Janata Dal Secular's HD Kumaraswamy and RJD's Tejashwi Yadav have said they would back Rahul Gandhi for PM. But leaders like Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee, seen as strong candidates for the top job, have stayed silent on that.
Sources say Rahul Gandhi feels it will be a divisive issue if the opposition does come to it.
His sister Priyanka Gandhi caused a flutter last month when she said to Congress workers in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's constituency in Uttar Pradesh, that "We will win the Lok Sabha election and Rahul will become prime minister."
The Congress president is contesting two seats for the first time; apart from Amethi, he will contest the polls from Wayanad in Kerala.