PM to Announce Retirement?
Published: 01st January 2014 07:44 AM |
Those in the Congress who were quietly trying to nudge Manmohan Singh out of his prime ministerial perch at the fag-end of his tenure got an answer on Tuesday: he will not oblige and announce his resignation at the press conference he’s scheduled to address on Friday morning.
Instead, the Prime Minister will be seeking to put behind the trying time faced by his UPA-II government and the party and use the New Year to reflect on the “shortcomings and lapses” and take “corrective action” for a “new beginning”. This is Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, by his own words.
Since in the two functional months that is left of UPA-II before the Election Commission announces its schedule for the parliamentary polls, there’s not much scope for a New Year pledge by an outgoing Prime Minister, a ‘new beginning’ can only be in the form of a new leader.
Many, therefore, believe that an announcement to that effect may come from the Prime Minister Singh on Friday. He may formally endorse Rahul Gandhi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014.
It could be a public acknowledgment of sort that he’s ready to bow out of active politics in favour of a younger leadership as in Rahul. “A retirement plan, not a resignation offer,” as a senior minister put it.
An announcement from the PM, sources said, will clear the way for Rahul as the PM candidate before the AICC session on January 17. “Without the PM... graciously making way for Rahulji (projection as his successor), it may look like the party is dumping him”.