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Rahul should be ready for bigger role, says Karan Singh

Last updated on: November 13, 2011 19:55 IST

Image: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi

Amid speculation over Rahul Gandhi taking a bigger role in Congress, senior party leader Karan Singh feels that there is "no probable reason" why he should stay away from the responsibility.

"I was cabinet minister at 36, he is over 40, so there is no probable reason why he shouldn't. I assume he will be ready but what decision is taken will depend really upon (Congress chairperson) Soniaji (Gandhi) and him, it is between them," Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, told PTI on the sidelines of his third annual lecture at NIIT university in Neemrana.

He was asked whether Rahul was ready to assume a bigger responsibility in the party.

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'Row over AFSPA should have been solved silently'

Image: An army jawan checks the credentials of a photographer in Srinagar
Photographs: Reuters

The veteran leader also cleared the air about a party section in Jammu and Kashmir, where Congress is in alliance with National Conference, reportedly asking for rotation of chief minister.

"Last time it was on rotational basis when we were in coalition with the Peoples Democratic Party, this time the Congress made a commitment that National Conference will continue for all six years. Unless there is some change of heart on both the sides, I presume that will continue," Singh said.

Asked about the current debate on whether or not the Armed Forces Special Powers Act should be lifted from certain parts of the state, the titular maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir said it was between the state government and the army to sort out.

"There seems to be a sharp difference of opinion. The army feels very strongly that it shouldn't be lifted and Omar feels strongly that it should be lifted partially, so I think they should sort it out between themselves," Singh said.

He, however, felt that the matter should not have been given such a hype and should have been solved amicably.

"I am sorry that there should be a public disagreement like that. It would have been better if things had been done silently," he said.

'Presidency is not something which you seek'

Image: Senior Congress leader Karan Singh
Photographs: Reuters

The 80-year-old, whose name was in reckoning for the President's post last time around, said he was open to accepting the challenge.

The tenure of the incumbent president, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, ends in July next year and Singh indicated that he was ready to take on the mantle if it is offered to him.

"Presidency is not something which you seek, the presidency is something which you are offered, so if there is an offer we will see," he said.

"I am always ready for any challenge. I have spent 60 years in public life, I am not afraid of any challenge but I have never desired for any position whatever came my way. I just kept on performing my duty," Singh said.

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