Rahul Gandhi's indication that he was ready to don the role of Congress' prime ministerial candidate found endorsement from his party leaders Tuesday while drawing criticism from the BJP for "dynastic politics".
Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said there was an overwhelming view in the party for a long time that Rahul Gandhi should lead the battle for 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"We want him as the prime ministerial candidate. There is no two opinions about it in the (party) rank and file," she said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said: "We have repeatedly and consistently said that he is the natural leader of the Congress party and we would want that we contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections under his leadership".
"However who should be given what responsibility is a decision which is taken by Congress president Sonia Gandhi after due consideration and consultations with everyone," he said.
Rahul Gandhi, in an interview to Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar has said that he was ready for any role that the party would give him.
There has been speculation over whether Congress would declare Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate at the partymeeting Friday.
To a remark by the Congress vice president that emperors Ashoka and Akbar had united the country while Aurangzeb had done the opposite was an indirect attack on Narendra Modi, Tewari said: "There is no need to be indirect. The politics of the respectable Gujarat chief minister has been narrow, communal and divisive".
"What happened in 2002 in Gujarat is not hidden from anyone. Instead of taking moral responsibility, the way he (Modi) has tried to give justifications shows that he doesn't believe in either secularism or the idea of India."
Meanwhile taking on the Congress on the issue of dynastic politics, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shanker Prasad said: "Nothing better can be expected from Rahul Gandhi."
"I need to remind him (Rahul Gandhi) that it only happens in BJP that the person born into a humble tea vendor's family can be promoted to become a prime ministerial candidate because of his hard work, integrity and leadership and also record of good governance."