New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is being pitted as the frontrunner to be the UPA's Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has made it clear that he is not interested in becoming the Prime Minister. "Asking me whether you want to be Prime Minister is a wrong question," Rahul Gandhi said.
Talking to reporters, Rahul Gandhi said that the High Command culture needs to end in the Congress. He added that he was meeting people to strengthen the party and the alliance.
Rahul Gandhi said the high command culture started in the 70s when "my grandmother was under severe assault...I knew her and if I would have been in her place, I would have also done likewise". He gave ample signals that he wanted to change the organisation drastically from top to bottom and his ideal was Mahatma Gandhi and he believed in the "Nishkam Karma" of the Gita.
Calling the Mahatma "my guru", he said Gandhiji could inspire people as also the rank and file of Congress as they knew that he was not one who is hankering after power.
The 42-year-old leader told the MPs in no uncertain terms that the organisation was his priority and he was preparing for a long haul. "Today I see how MPs feel without power and it is the same story in all the parties, be it Congress or BJP. I want to empower the 720-odd MPs in Parliament. "I want to give voice to the middle tier...empower the middle-level leaders. There are some parties in India which are run by one leader (BSP), two leaders (SP), five to six leaders (BJP) and 15 to 20 leaders (Congress). My priority is that I want to empower the MPs as also the 5,000-odd legislators in various states," he said.
This comes at a time when there has been a clamour within the Congress to project him as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
However, with Rahul's reluctance to become the Prime Minister, the question is whether the Congress is going through a leadership crisis. Rahul's statement comes even as he has been seen leading the Congress from the front in the past few days.
Last week, in a stern warning to rebels, Rahul Gandhi said that from now on doors won't remain open for those who left the party and contested elections against official nominees as he would do away with the past practice of re-inducting such members. He interacted with party leaders and office bearers of the Mumbai unit saying he had come to meet them so that there could be fruitful discussions during which some rules could be formulated for effective functioning of the organisation.
He said he would do away with the past practice of re-inducting rebels into the party. "Doors were open for them earlier. But now this will not happen," he was quoted as having told the meeting which was not open to the media.
(With additional information from PTI)