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Sonia endorses Manmohan as PM candidate

February 07, 2009 03:21 IST

Breaking her silence and scotching all speculation, Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] has virtually made it clear that Manmohan Singh [Images]  would continue to be the prime ministerial  face of the party.
    
"He has led the UPA government with great distinction. He has many more years of service both to the party and to our
country," she said in her 'Letter to Congresspersons' in the latest issue of the party mouthpiece Congress Sandesh.
    
Gandhi said, "He has always been known for his wisdom and sagacity, for his humility and simplicity, for his
quiet but firm resolve and his sobriety and dignity".
    
Virtually endorsing Singh as the PM candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, she said, "we look forward to his continued
leadership and his inspiration to the younger generation particularly".
     
Soon after reports of the 76-year old Prime Minister was admitted to the AIIMS late last month for a heart surgery,
with elections round the corner there was speculation in media  and political circles about who would be projected as
the prime ministerial candidate of the party.
     
The Congress continued to maintain that Singh was the Prime Minister and there was no vacancy for the post and Gandhi's remarks has appeared to have sealed the debate.
     
Asked about the Sandesh remarks of Gandhi, party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said "Manmohan Singh is the
Prime Minister of the country and there os no vacancy for the post today".

Asked about the party's prime ministerial candidate in the elections, Natarajan said, "the Congress campaign will be
led by the Congress president".  The spokesperson sidestepped  queries on the implications of the statement of Gandhi, saying it would not be proper to interpret the statement of the Congress president.
 
To a query about the hoardings in some places in which Rahul Gandhi [Images] has been projected as a leader, Natarajan said,
"there is no vacancy for the post of PM".

Interestingly on  August 15 last year Gandhi had said that Singh would unfurl the national flag from the Red Fort [Images]. "Certainly, I am saying so", Gandhi had said when asked whether Singh would unfurl the tricolour from Red Fort



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