'Retiring' PM Will Help Clear Path for Rahul
By Santwana Bhattacharya | ENS | Published: 01st January 2014 07:52 AM |
The PM on Tuesday said he won’t announce his resignation at the Friday press conference.
An announcement from the PM, sources said, will clear the way for Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate before the AICC session on January 17. “Without the PM himself graciously making way for Rahul, it may look like the party is dumping him” or expressing no-confidence in him and “that is something the Congress president will not allow”.
But the PM already has had a meeting with Sonia Gandhi where he expressed his “desire to step back” and assume a mentoring role for Rahul. The PM and Sonia may have another round of meeting on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the PMO, sounding rather miffed, told the media that the “PM will complete his term”.
Sources in the PMO also claimed that the reason why he consented to have a press meet was because there were several requests for interviews that the PM kept declining. So, “We somewhere felt, PM needs to set the record straight and put across his views at the same time - it is going to be a long interaction not a restricted one.”
I&B Minister Manish Tewari also confirmed the PMO’s point: “Media persons keep cribbing that he doesn’t talk to them. Now that the PM has agreed to talk to the press at the beginning of 2014, to speculate on that, I think, is in bad taste.” But Tewari should be knowing there are Congress leaders who have told the same media that a “former PM” suffix will help Rahul if the party were to lose the elections and he has to sit in the opposition. “It will even help him rebuild the party in the coming year,” a Congress leader told a select group of media about a week ago, where this correspondent was present.
As of now, after debunking “speculative” reports about PM-likely-to-resign, the official view in the Congress is that “there is no need for any clarification from our side, please refer to PMO’s denial” on this issue.