On eve of Cong conclave, Rahul Gandhi is ready & willing

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi says he is ready to “obey” his party’s decision about his projection as the prime ministerial candidate. He sent out this signal just ahead of the AICC meeting to be held in New Delhi on Friday, and it is being seen as a positive development within the party.

It is now increasingly becoming clear that the party will not shy away from projecting Gandhi Junior against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as well as other aspirants from different regional parties.

The young Gandhi, who was made the party vice-president at the AICC meeting held in Jaipur in January last year, however, left the decision to the party leadership. “I am a sepoy of the Congress. I will obey whatever order is given to me. I will do whatever the Congress wants me to do... In our party, decisions are taken by senior leaders,” he told Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar in an interview.

“Earlier also, some decisions were taken... Power is poison does not mean I am not keen on taking responsibility. There is no word like ‘reluctance’ in my life... Congress has never been specific. Whatever task the Congress wanted me to accomplish, I have done that,” Gandhi said when asked whether he was ready to take up the prime minister’s post and about perceptions of him being reluctant.

Remarks made by the Gandhi scion at the Jaipur meeting last year that his mother Sonia Gandhi had told him that power is poison, had led to speculation as well opposition attack that the Congress vice-president was not willing to take up responsibility.

Explaining his remarks, he said, “‘Power is poison’ is an observation that when power comes, one should know how to deal with the associated dangers that come with it. This is it. Power is poison means use power for the welfare of people and do not use it to make oneself bigger or more powerful.”

To a direct question on whether he will accept any such responsibility, Gandhi said, “None of my family members ever worked for the sake of power. Neither my father nor my grandmother.”

“We are a democratic organisation. We have faith in democracy. The people of India will decide through their elected representatives, who will be the prime minister of the country. It is necessary for the Congress to come to power in the interest of the nation, and for that whatever responsibility the organisation has given me or will give me, I will carry that out with full dedication,” he said.

Slamming the BJP for its “Congress-free India” pitch, he said, “The BJP wants a personality-oriented rule, which is not in the interest of the country. The country should not be governed as per the whims and fancies of one particular person and his ways. The future of 120 crore people can be shaped and improved only by taking everybody along.”

Maintaining that “the Congress is in the DNA of this country,” Gandhi said, “The BJP is talking of a Congress-free India. It does not understand that the Congress alone is the political power, which has kept people of this country united.”

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