Despite rap, 'Rahul-for-PM' chorus continues

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New Delhi, Apr 27 (UNI) Even after a curt public warning by the Congress Party against 'sycophancy' and 'speculation'' the chorus seeking to project Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Ministerial candidate continues to reverberate in the 123-year-old party, pushing the high command in a bind.

The trend unwittingly brought embarrassment every time to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who has one more year in his present term.

The latest among the leaders to join the 'Rahul-for-PM' bandwagon was Digvijay Singh, one of the senior most leaders who had served as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for long.

''Rahul is fully competent to occupy the post of Prime Minister'' said Singh, who is one of the AICC general secretaries, adding such an opinion should not be viewed as ''sycophancy.'' Seeking to highlight the statement of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi batting for Mr Gandhi, Mr Digvijay Singh said, ''If a seasoned leader sees talent in some person, it should not be viewed as sycophancy.'' On the renewed chorus in favour of Mr Gandhi, AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told UNI that "the statement asking the party leaders to stop sycophancy has not been intended to run down any individual functionary. It was meant to stop a trend." He, however, admitted that "the view in the party seems to be that there is nothing intrinsically inappropriate in 'Rahul-for-PM' line, but that it was too early and had caused embarrassment to Prime Minister Singh.'' Though sycophancy is not new to the Congress party, a fresh debate on the subject has been kicked up in the party in the wake of a recent statement by senior Party leader and Union Minister Arjun Singh supporting the projection of Mr Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Ministerial candidate.

Going by Congress standards, the views expressed by Mr Arjun Singh can never be termed as sycophancy.

But the statement of Mr Arjun Singh had apparently brought embarrassment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It was more so because he is a member of the Council of Ministers headed by Mr Manmohan Singh.

The AICC's snub also coincided with the statement of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who did not see anything wrong in the idea of passing over the reins to the young MP from Amethi.

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