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Dr Singh won't resign on Friday, likely to anoint Rahul as PM candidate

Last updated on: December 31, 2013 15:51 IST

Dr Singh won't resign on Friday, likely to anoint Rahul as PM candidate

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Is the Congress buckling under pressure to announce its PM candidate?

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 in New Delhi 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 Dr Singh may step down ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to make way for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi sits under a poster of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a rally in Uttar Pradesh
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Dr Singh won't resign on Friday, likely to anoint Rahul as PM candidate

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There has been a growing clamour within the Congress party to name Rahul as the prime ministerial candidate, particularly after the reverses suffered by the party in the state assembly polls. Dr Singh will not go, but sources say will he set the stage for Rahul’s anointment as the Congress party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls.

Only on Monday, senior leader and Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the Congress should project its prime ministerial candidate for the general elections next year. "...in my view, the party (Congress) should project a person as the leader of the party who will become prime minister if the party forms the government. That is my view, but it is for the party to decide."

Shedding his reticence in recent days, Rahul has been pro-active and has spoken on a number of issues such as Lokpal Bill and the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai, two issues on which he has made decisive interventions.

The PM has more than once said that Rahul Gandhi should lead the party and that he was willing to work under the Congress vice president

"I have always maintained that Rahul Gandhi would be an ideal choice for the PM post after 2014 elections. I will be happy to work in the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi," he had told reporters on his way back from the G-20 Summit in Russia in September.

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Image: On several occasions, Dr Singh has maintained that Rahul was the ideal candidate for the job
Photographs: Reuters

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Dr Singh won't resign on Friday, likely to anoint Rahul as PM candidate

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During the press meet, the PM is likely to dispel the impression about policy paralysis and reply to critics of his government.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Manish Tewari also rubbished the report about the prime minister's resignation, saying it was "absurd and baseless".

"It (the report) is absurd and baseless," Tewari said while responding to a question about speculation about the PM's resignation at a function to mark release of DAVP calender.

He said the question did not merit any response and it was improper for a section of media to run such stories when the PM was going to address the media on January 3.

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Image: Dr Singh with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi


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