Dismissing reports that its vice president Rahul Gandhi may replace Manmohan Singh after a rift between the latter and party chief Sonia Gandhi over the dropping of two ministers, the Congress Monday said the Prime Minister will continue till the 2014 polls.
“We refute such rumours and malicious campaign. No new decision has to be made in this matter,” Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters to queries if Rahul Gandhi could replace Manmohan Singh before the monsoon session of parliament in July-August.
“Whenever there was a need, the party has said in clear terms that Manmohan Singh will be prime minister till 2014. That is the position today also,” he said.
Stating the understanding between the prime minister and Congress president was the most “perfect relationship that can exist between a party chief and a prime minister”, Dwivedi said “the rumour mongers would again suffer a loss of face as in the past”.
“I hope they have some sense,” he said.
Dwivedi recalled that Sonia Gandhi had declared before the 2009 general elections that Manmohan Singh will be the prime minister if the Congress gets mandate to form the government.
Dwivedi had said Sunday that the decision to drop railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and law minister Ashwani Kumar was a “joint decision” of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi after reports in a section of the media said that it was at her insistence that the two ministers were asked to resign.
Bansal had resigned following the arrest of his nephew for allegedly accepting a bribe for fixing a promotion in the Railway Board. Ashwaani Kumar quit in the wake of the controversy over his vetting the Central Board of Investigation (CBI) probe report in the allocations of coal blocks.