A day after AICC media chief Janardan Dwivedi said “all is well” in the Congress and the dual-power centre was the way forward, the party tied itself in knots trying to explain who its prime ministerial candidate could be in 2014.
Faced with a barrage of queries, Congress spokesperson P C Chacko had a tough time on Wednesday. He could neither rule out a third term for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh nor withdraw Rahul Gandhi from the fray. “He (Singh) is eminently suitable. (But) We’ve to collectively decide after 2014. We’re still far away from the elections. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.”
Referring to Manmohan’s CII address, he added, “The Prime Minister has made the most optimistic statement today. He has given a roadmap. We have many things to achieve before the elections.” Asked to explain how Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh was confirming the BJP view that the dual power centre model -- Sonia Gandhi leading the party and Manmohan the government-- wasn’t really working, Chacko said, “If the BJP agrees with Digvijay Singh, then there is a game plan.” However, he later said Digvijay was misquoted. Earlier, Digvijay said he stood by his remarks but would abide by the party line. Dwivedi had said Sonia and Manmohan worked in tandem and well enough for them to sustain it in the future. Before leaving for the US for a medical check-up, Sonia is learnt to have ensured that Dwivedi assuaged the Prime Minister’s hurt feelings.
In fact, sources also confirmed that it was in retaliation to Digvijay’s comment that Manmohan talked of not being averse to a third term, on his way back from Durban. A Congress leader clarified that it was important to ensure the Opposition didn’t get further ammunition to attack the party. “The BJP has always been accusing us of a dual-power centre and when a leader with the stature of Digvijay Singh says so, it erodes the achievements of the nine years of UPA rule.”
Also, the Congress leader gave two possible scenarios under the dual power centre model: Rahul as the Prime Minister with Sonia at the helm of the party or Manmohan heading the government with Rahul leading the party. Besides, it was pointed out that Rahul has been pitching for a “one man, one post” policy ever since he joined the party.