New Delhi: In what could be a major indication of Rahul Gandhi joining the UPA government, the Congress General Secretary on Thursday said he would play a "more active role in party and government".
"I will play more active role in party and the government. The final decision is upto the Congress leadership," he said on Thursday after several leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi had put the onus on him to take more responsibilities.
This is the first time Rahul himself has said that he will play a proactive role in the government.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had on Wednesday said it was for Rahul to decide for himself on playing a larger role in the party.
"No one can take a decision on his behalf. He has to take a decision," she said in Parliament House after Vice President Hamid Ansari filed his nomination paper for a second term.
Her comments came against the backdrop of comments by senior Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh and Salman Khurshid clamouring for a larger role for Rahul in the party.
In an interview with a national daily, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid had said that the root of the problems plaguing the Congress was the lack of "ideological direction" from its next generation leader.
In the interview, given to 'The Indian Express', Khurshid said, "We need a new ideology to be given by our next generation leader Rahul Gandhi to move forward and to meet contemporary challenges. The fact is that he is undoubtedly and unquestionably the number two leader in the party. Yet he has not taken up the mantle or accepted a functional responsibility. He is so far not willing to accept the number two position."
"In UPA II, governance and politics have all got intermingled. The political props have got mixed up. It's a scattered situation. The stage has to be set up again and only the Congress president can do it. She is the one who has the stature. The Prime Minister can then run the government, but he cannot set the stage," Khurshid added.
Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh seemed to second Khurshid. He said, "Finally the time has come for him (Rahul) to assume a larger role... He had been confining himself to Youth Congress and the student wing of the party. He should come in the mainstream... This is the demand of all Congressmen. We all want that he works proactively."
While Singh sought a "decisive" role for Rahul, another senior leader, who declined to be identified, said that projection of a PM candidate in the next polls scheduled in 2014, was "imperative in view of the changing times".