New Delhi: After much speculation and political murmurs, the suspense is over. Congress may be projecting Rahul as its future but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will continue to lead from the front.
Breaking her silence for the first time on the issue, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said Dr Singh – who underwent a series of complicated heart surgeries recently – is the coalition’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
In the party magazine Sandesh, Sonia writes, “We look forward to his continued leadership and his inspiration particularly to the younger generation”.
Sonia is aware that Dr Singh's surgery sparked speculation that he may be reluctant to persist with the top job in case the party comes back to power.
Hence, the need to reiterate how indispensable the Prime Minister is has been conveyed to the party spokespersons.
"The Congress campaign will be laid by Congress President and the post of PM is not vacant today," said party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan.
Sonia had to issue this clarification because she is also aware that many within the party nurture prime ministerial ambitions and it was important to keep the fragile party unity together.
Within the party, there has been a turnaround from being labelled a reluctant politician and hence his limited role as a major campaigner for the party.
Dr Singh's personal stock has risen, tempting Sonia to suggest that he should contest a Lok Sabha seat.
Sources say she feels that this time around, the BJP campaign will also be silenced.
However, it all depends on the final tally. If the allies do well then Manmohan Singh will be the only acceptable choice. But if Congress comes on its own, voices in Rahul's favour will only get shriller.