Amid clamour in the Congress to declare Rahul Gandhi its prime ministerial candidate, party leader Digvijay Singh on Friday appeared advocating caution, noting that in a parliamentary system it is the elected members of Parliament and assemblies who choose their leader.
"I have been consistently saying that we are a parliamentary democracy and here it is not a contest between key personalities. It's a contest between policies, ideologies and programmes of parties," Singh told reporters.
He said that under this system, whichever party comes with a majority, the leader there is chosen by newly elected members of Parliament and assemblies at the end of the day.
"And then he becomes prime minister or chief minister.... That is the age-old practice....However, party president Sonia Gandhi has given an indication on December 8....If Congress party wants to declare (the PM candidate), it is okay," he said.
Singh also said that in a parliamentary democracy, there is the prime minister and a 'shadow' prime minister. "The shadow prime minister is obviously Sushma Swaraj as
the Leader of the Opposition," he said, dismissing the "debate about Rahul versus Narendra Modi, Modi versus Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul versus Modi versus Kejriwal" as something only linked to TRP readings of electronic media.
Singh had on Thursday said that that in a parliamentary democracy, the PM candidate is not declared in advance because "that takes away from the rights of elected Members of Parliament and MLAs to choose the leader".
Addressing the media last month at the AICC headquarters, Sonia had responded to a query on the party's PM nominee by saying that a decision would be taken on the matter at an "opportune moment".
"We have not made any statement in this regard yet," she had said when asked whether Rahul would be named as the party's prime ministerial candidate.
Sonia's remarks hinting at the Congress declaring its PM candidate in advance has taken many leaders by surprise as the party leaders have earlier been maintaining that Congress never declares its PM or CM candidate in advance.