Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president of the Congress party and scion of its first family, has said he is “ready to take charge” of any responsibility given to him by his party, fuelling speculations that he is likely to be named the party’s prime ministerial candidate ahead of Indian general elections.
Gandhi’s assertion came in an interview to the Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar. It followed a flurry of statements by Congress leaders that he was the best prime ministerial candidate to lead the party.
Elections for a new parliament are due before May.
The Congress party will hold a meeting on Friday when it is expected to announce its party’s prime ministerial candidate.
On January 3, incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced his plans to retire after the elections, saying “Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to be a Prime Minister”.
Gandhi’s Congress party heads the ruling coalition in India.
“My focus for India is a long term vision, where all Indians are treated with equality, respect and are given equal opportunities”, Gandhi said in the interview.
Gandhi will be pitted against the main opposition BJP’s Narendra Modi.
The Congress has long been led by members of the Nehru-Gandhi family for generations and his mother Sonia is currently the Congress president.
Political observers criticise the Congress for being led by dynastic politics of the Gandhi family, but like the Kennedy magic in US, the party still looks up to the Gandhi family to take lead.
Members of the Gandhi family have ruled India for over 30 years in its 66 years since independence in 1947.
The Congress party was defeated in the recent state elections in the capital city of Delhi where after 15 years in power it was reduced to the third position and is supporting the ruling AAP (Common Man’s party).
Gandhi told the newspaper that the “AAP has done some of the work that the Congress wished to do in Delhi”.