Sonia looks forward to Manmohan’s ‘continued leadership’


New Delhi : Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said she looked forward to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “continued leadership”, amid speculation over the party’s prime ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

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“He has many more years of service both to our party and our country,” Gandhi said in a statement in the latest issue of the Congress mouthpiece Sandesh.

“He (Manmohan Singh) has led the United Progressive Alliance government with great distinction. We look forward to his continued leadership and his inspiration to the younger generation.”

Her statement was delineated further by party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan, who told reporters: “Manmohan Singh is our prime minister and there is no vacancy for the post of the prime minister.”

Speculation about Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi being groomed to take on the big role had started in 2007 after he was made the general secretary but got intense after Manmohan Singh had to be hospitalised for a bypass surgery last month.

A debate had started in Congress circles about who would be the prime minister if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won the elections again – in case Manmohan Singh’s health put him out of action.

“Rahul will some day assume the top role but neither he nor his mother (Sonia Gandhi) are in a hurry. Besides this, she trusts Manmohan Singh immensely,” A senior minister told IANS on condition of anonymity.