New Delhi: Even as speculations over the Congress's official prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha elections continue, Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, who took the additional charge of Environment and Forests portfolio on Tuesday, said that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is the party's prime ministerial candidate.
Moily took charge after Jayanthi Natarajan resigned last week to help with the party's preparations for the coming 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Even as there have been questions raised over Natarajan's resignation, Moily said it is wrong to say that she did a bad job.
Moily also attacked BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi saying he talks too much. "Modi talks too much, we are the ones who deliver," Moily said.
As Moily replaced Natarajan, questions have been raised over the choice since the petroleum industry has often been at odds with green groups.
Natarajan defended the party over her resignation and said, "I have given resignation so that I can devote my energy for party work. It is some kind of vested interest causing speculations and it's completely untrue. Not a single project was wrongly denied permission. I am surprised that I even have to answer these questions, this is totally baseless. Rahul is talking about transparency which we are already implementing. Rahul also said that environment is equally important and what he has said is absolutely right."
When asked about Moily replacing her, she said, "It is not my business to comment. It is completely the Prime Minister's prerogative and it's not right for me to comment on this."
The timing of Jayanthi Natarajan's resignation has also been questioned as she quit the Cabinet just hours before Rahul Gandhi told industry leaders at FICCI that the burden of slow decisions was hurting growth.
Rahul said, "Many of you have expressed your frustration with environmental clearances that are delaying projects unduly. There is excessive administrative and judicial discretion. The loopholes are so big you can drive a truck through some of them! Environmental and social damage must be avoided but decisions must also be transparent, timely and fair."