Rahul Gandhi will lead Congress from the front in the Lok Sabha as well as the assembly polls this year, Union Minister Sachin Pilot said on Tuesday, skirting the question whether he would be projected as Prime Ministerial candidate to take on Narendra Modi.
"I am making it very, very unambiguous to you. Rahul Gandhi will lead this party to polls in 2014 and once we win, God willing, and when the UPA III is being formed, at that time you will see, who becomes our PM candidate," he said.
He was asked why the ruling party is so diffident about projecting its Prime Ministerial nominee before elections when there are growing indications that Modi could be named the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate soon.
"You can be less flamboyant but you have to be humane, approachable, and an acceptable leader, who has the heart to carry people along. Whether you are in coalition or in single party rule, it does not matter. The country is too large. We are a collection of so many religions, cultures and ethnicity that we need and we deserve an entity, who is able to take everyone along.
"...To my mind, one person, who is able to transcend these divisions that we have of caste, religion, language and so on from this part of India to that part of India, the only person, who can symbolically epitomie all of India, is Rahul Gandhi," Pilot told PTI in an interview.
When pointed out that Manmohan Singh was declared the Prime Ministerial candidate during the release of Congress Manifesto before 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Pilot merely said, "Wait for manifesto day and may be we have something to say then but I cannot say anything today."
He prefaced the comments by saying that Congress never declares its Prime Ministerial or Chief Ministerial candidate and took a jibe at Modi, saying the urgency of wanting to be declared its PM candidate lies solely and solely with one person and that is the Gujarat Chief Minister.
His remarks come close on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that Gandhi will be an "ideal choice" for the prime minsters's post after the next Lok Sabha polls."