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No rift in party, Manmohan Singh will lead in 2014: Congress

New Delhi: Dismissing reports of a rift between the PMO and the party following dropping of two ministers from the cabinet, the Congress on Monday asserted that there was no change in its position that Manmohan Singh will be prime minister till 2014.

Congress general secretary Janaradan Dwivedi told reporters here that the party had declared before the 2009 polls that Manmohan Singh will be prime minister if it gets mandate to form the government.

Manmohan Singh. AFP

Manmohan Singh. AFP

He said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, while releasing the party manifesto, had also said that Manmohan Singh will be the prime minister.

"Whenever there was a need, the party has said in clear terms that Dr Manmohan Singh will be prime minister till 2014. That is the position today also," Dwivedi said.

Dismissing reports of a rift between the prime minister's office and the party, he said the prime minister and Congress president had "perfect relationship" in steering the party.

Dwivedi had said Sunday that the decision to drop Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar from the cabinet was "joint decision" of Manmohan Singh and Gandhi, and termed as "not correct" reports in a section of the media that it was at her insistence that the two ministers were dropped.

Bansal had resigned following the arrest of his nephew for allegedly accepting bribe for fixing a promotion in Railway Board. Kumar quit in the wake of controversy over his vetting the Central Board of Investigation (CBI) probe report in the coal block allocations.

IANS