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'Whether Rahul accepts or not, he is our prime ministerial candidate'

January 16, 2014 15:36 IST

Ahead of the crucial All India Congress Committee session on Friday, Union Minister Oscar Fernandes on Thursday said Rahul Gandhi is Congress candidate for Prime Ministership even as suspense remains on whether the party will formally anoint him as PM nominee for the Lok Sabha polls.

"Whether he (Rahul) accepts or not, he is our prime ministerial candidate. He will certainly accept (the responsibility), this is my opinion," the Road Transport Minister told reporters.

"Wait till tomorrow," Fernandes said when asked whether the announcement of Rahul Gandhi's candidature for the top post will be made tomorrow.

He also said that there is no difference of opinion among senior party leaders on it. "No, no differences... we all are very happy."

To a specific question as to how his name can be formally announced as the party's PM candidate amid different opinions in Congress on it, Fernades, who has held key positions in party organidsation for long, insisted, "It has to be done."

The remarks of the senior party leader are significant as they come on a day when Congress Working Committee is meeting to take a final view on the issue ahead of the AICC meeting.

In last few days, there have been contradictory signals from the party with some leaders indicating that he should be named the PM candidate before the polls while few others advocating a word of caution on it.

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia also hoped that such an announcement could be made at the AICC meeting.

"I certainly hope that it will be so....I certainly believe that under his leadership Congress will certainly perform well in this election," Scindia said in reply to a question on whether Rahul's name could be annoucned as PM candidate in the meeting.

Lauding Rahul's leadership, he said, "I really believe that what he represents in terms of morals, values and commitment, his dedication, his vision for India going forward, is what India requires at this point of time."

In a recent interview, the Congress vice president appeared shedding his unwillingness for the top job, noting that he was ready to undertake any responsibility given to him by Congress.

"I am a sepoy of Congress.I will obey whatever order is given to me. I will do whatever Congress wants me to do".

The Gandhi scion has appeared reluctant in the past to take up any responsibility in the government describing the debate around PM candidate as all "smoke".

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