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Rahul rules out becoming minister

Tara Shankar Sahay and agencies | May 19, 2004 20:08 IST
Last Updated: May 19, 2004 23:18 IST

Shortly after Manmohan Singh's election as Congress Parliamentary Party leader, Rahul Gandhi said there will be no two power centres in the party and ruled out becoming minister in the new government.

"I don't think there is any question of power centres in the party. He (Singh) is my leader. There will be complete support from the party," he told reporters who asked whether there will be two power centres with party president Sonia Gandhi remaining outside.

Asked whether he would become a minister in the new government, Rahul said, "I won't join. I will certainly not be in the government, the reason being I don't think I am needed in the government." 

"I am needed in the party. I think there will be many people better than me who will be in the Cabinet," he said.

Asked if he would become party General Secretary, he said, "I don't know about that."

Asked repeatedly whether he would accept any government post, Rahul replied, "Not right now. I am not against it. After five years probably."

Rahul felt that he was needed 'in organisation building'. "I want to strengthen the organisation," he said.

Asked whether he would take up a post in the Youth Congress or the Congress party, he said, "It is a party decision."

To a question as to when the new government would be in place, Rahul Gandhi replied that he was 'ignorant'. "I don't know when the government would be formed," he said.

On the message for the large number of Congress workers waiting outside the Gandhi residence, he said, "My mother is with you."

Asked whether he aspired to become Prime Minister, he said, "No, it is not that. It is not something that I think every night that I am going to be Prime Minister."

Rahul Gandhi said it was a matter of concern for him how poor people were living and being treated.

To a question whether his focus will be on Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said, "I am from Uttar Pradesh and the party has not been good in the state and one has to take care of Uttar Pradesh."

Rahul also said that Dr Manmohan Singh would fulfill the aspirations of his father, the late Rajiv Gandhi.

In a chance encounter with a handful of reporters outside Parliament following the Congress Parliamentary Party meet to elect Dr Singh as the secular coalition's prime ministerial candidate, Rahul, referring to economic reforms, said, "He (Dr Singh) did it earlier. He will do it again."

Asked when he was getting married, Rahul said amid laughter. "I haven't decided. But when I do, I will inform you people."

Asked whether he had envisaged whether he would one day become the prime minister, he pointed out, "The way I and my sister (Priyanka) have been brought up, we are made to believe that the country is our religion, the way people go to church or temple or gurdwara. I don't dream that I will become the prime minister one day."

"I assess where I am needed and in what way and I accordingly react," Rahul said.

Displaying level-headedness, the Congress MP from Amethi made the scribes laugh on his take on politics.

Asked whether he had learnt politics, Rahul pointed out that it was not something, which could be mastered in a fortnight.

"It takes 60-70 years to know the actual meaning of politics and I am just a newcomer," he said.

Asked about the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said, "I belong to Uttar Pradesh and so does my family. My party is weak there so I will have to obviously focus there."

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