Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has no intention of stepping down ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, his office said on Tuesday, rejecting the speculation in this regard.
The speculation was triggered by the Prime Minister’s decision to hold a rare press conference here on January 3, which will only be the third of his current tenure. “The Prime Minister will complete his tenure,” the PMO said, rubbishing a report of his stepping down before the polls.
A media report had speculated that Singh may step down ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to make way for Rahul Gandhi.
There has been a growing clamour within the Congress party to name Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate, particularly after the reverses suffered by the party in the state assembly polls. On Monday, Union finance minister P Chidambaram had said the Congress should project its prime ministerial candidate for the general elections next year. The assessment in the party is that a major reason for the crushing defeat in the recently concluded four state assembly elections was an “absence of face”.
But the party as well as the government on Tuesday quickly dismissed Chidambaram’s statement as his personal view. The minister for state for information and broadcasting Manish Tiwari said it was his (Chidambaram’s) personal view and there was no hurry in the party to announce a prime ministerial candidate. “It will be announced at an appropriate time, as already stated by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi,” he said. —With agency inputs