Rahul Gandhi will be next PM, says Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday virtually declared Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi his successor, suggesting that the young Gandhi would lead UPA-3 if it came to power after the Lok Sabha election next year.
This clear indicator that Dr Singh is not eyeing a third term as Prime Minister comes at a time when the BJP is growing isolated on the issue of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial candidature and when a third alternative has yet to emerge.
Dr Singh’s projection of Rahul Gandhi can be seen as the answer to the BJP on who is the (UPA’s) PM candidate.
Giving a clear hint that the Congress is open to allying with the secular parties, including the JD(U), the PM described Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as secular, saying that “in politics, there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends.”
Narendra Modi cannot be a threat (to the Congress) as the people of India know what he stands for, Dr Singh added.
“I have always said, as far as I am concerned, I would be very happy to see Rahul step into my shoes. I always believe we will have a third go at the elections as the UPA and people will again repose their faith in us,” he told reporters after the swearing-in of eight ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“Rahul Gandhi is a natural leader of the Congress. I hope he will lead the UPA. I always believed Rahul was fit enough and has the right qualities of a leader,” Dr Singh said while responding to a question on whether he would make way for Rahul Gandhi if the UPA came back to power.

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