Union Minister for Steel Beni Prasad Verma while attempting to clarify his comments that inflation was good for farmers may have embarrassed the Congress further by saying that the 2014 polls would in all likelihood be a contest between Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
“Rahul Gandhi will be our candidate in the the next polls. It will be Rahul vs Modi,” he said.
A day after he said that the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was “dreaming” of becoming Prime Minister, Verma today
said that parties like Samajwadi Party do not have all India presence and hence cannot form a government at the Centre.
“The government (at the Centre) will either be of Congress or Modi. Why they (SP)are misleading. Does the public not understand all this…. If Rahul Gandhi is our candidate, then the election in the 2014 will be Rahul Gandhi versus Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. No other party is in between,” Verma said.
The Congress has been seeking a ‘larger role’ for Rahul Gandhi in the party but he has restricted himself to the party’s functioning. However, they have rejected suggestions that Rahul would replace PM Manmohan Singh.
Recently, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi, replying to a question, dismissed the findings of a survey that spoke of people favouring a young Prime Minister. “Singh is the PM and will continue to be. The next Prime Minister will be decided according to constitutional procedures after the elections in 2014,” Alvi said.
He said Rahul was not only a leader of the party but a national leader, who would be at the helm of the government at a ‘proper time’.
So, has Verma let the cat slip out of the bag?
This is not the first time, he’s made such a statement. Earlier, he made a reference to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s age and said that Rahul Gandhi would be the Prime Minister in 2014.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is 80 years old.. in 2014 he would be 82…there is a limit and age to work..under these circumstances Rahul-ji would be made the Prime Minister,” Verma told reporters.
On Sunday, the minister said he was happy with the rising prices of these food items as it will benefit farmers.
“Dal, atta, vegetables have all become expensive. The more the prices rise the better it is. I am very happy with inflation,” he said.
Clarifying his remark today he said, “I am happy when farmers’ income increases. High food prices good for farmers.” He added he was sticking to what he had said.