BJP scoffs at Congress projection of Rahul as PM

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh today scoffed at attempts by some senior Congress ministers to project Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, saying it was a reflection on the sycophantic culture in that party.

Participating in a short duration discussion on price rise, Mr Singh did not even spare Dr Manmohan Singh, saying ''his writ does not run beyond 7 Race Course Road,'' the official residence of the Prime Minister.

''While the reign of King Shah Alam, son of last Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, ran from Delhi to Palam, a distance of some kilometers, Dr Singh's rule is confined to 7 Race Course Road,'' he quipped.

Without quoting the names of HRD Minister Arjun Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who had said that Rahul Gandhi was a fit candidate for the prime minister's post, he said such an observation was rather amazing when a Prime Minister was already there and no dates for general elections had been announced.

Mr Singh's comments drew loud protests from Congress members P J Kurien and R K Dhawan, who contended that the BJP had also announced Mr L K Advani as its prime ministerial candidate.

BJP leader Arun Shourie sought to counter them by arguing that the his party was not in power. ''We never made this kind of comment whenever our party was in power,'' he said.

Joining the fracas, Congress leader N Narayanasamy, who has recently been inducted in the cabinet, said the partry members were free to air their views.

''But the views should not be seen as sycophantic,'' pat came the reply from Mr Jaswant Singh.

UNI SKS Mir RAI1515

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