New Delhi, Apr 15 : Reacting to comments made by senior Congress leaders Arjun Singh and Pranab Mukherjee on projecting Rahul Gandhi as the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2009 General Elections, the Congress on Tuesday categorically stated that the PM's chair is not vacant.
"Congress President Sonia Gandhi and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi have always kept away from an environment of sycophancy," AICC Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters.
Natrajan cautioned party leaders and workers to avoid flattery. She further said that choosing the candidate for the post of Prime Minister is Congress' internal matter and the party has never projected any leader before elections, whether it is assembly election or a General election.
The statement was aimed at discouraging controversy within the party and the coalition.
"It is not appropriate to spread political speculation in this way," Natarajan said.
Natarajan said the UPA Government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his team have got a remarkable performance-oriented achievement.
"The government has delivered significant welfare measures for the benefit of the most disadvantaged sections of society," she added.
Her comments came soon after Arjun Singh met Sonia Gandhi and explained why he had suggested Rahul Gandhi's name as a suitable candidate for Prime Minister. Singh is said to have clarified that his suggestio;n was not wrong and that it was the right time to propose his name.
"I have nothing against Manmohan Singh. The statement should not be construed as sycophancy," he said.
Singh had suggested Rahul Gandhi as UPA's next prime ministerial candidate, while External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee also supported the idea of passing over the reins to the young MP from Amethi on Monday and Tuesday respectively.