New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi may be set to lead the Congress in the 2014 polls, but today the Congress general secretary will be watched for an entirely different reason as he campaigns in Gujarat. Will he take on Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been targeting him despite his absence so far?
If Gandhi is indeed set to lead the alliance in the next national election, it will be interesting to see his campaign in the Gujarat poll where the Congress party has so far stuck to a policy of not taking on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who himself is said to be harbouring ambitions of being in the running for the Prime Ministerial post.
The Congress has already declared that Gandhi will lead the UPA campaign in 2014, and is set to take up an "important responsibility" in the party "very soon".
Congress spokesperson PC Chacko, while saying that the Congress general secretary will play a more important role in the upcoming elections, refused to clarify whether he would be the Prime Ministerial candidate saying that the issue will come up after the elections and it was for party MPs to decide.
"The party is overwhelmingly in favour of Rahul Gandhi taking a larger responsibility. He was not very willing. Now he has agreed to it. He will lead UPA's election campaign for 2014," he said.
To a query on what will be the role of Congress President Sonia Gandhi after Rahul takes up a party position, he said, "She is the President now. She will be the patron. She will be the supreme leader of the party."
And despite his absence so far, Modi has already been been taking potshots at the Congress general secretary at rallies.
"The prince is coming but he is reluctant to come as well because if he comes to Gujarat, his condition would be worse than Uttar Pradesh," Modi said in a recent election rally apparently referring to Gandhi.
While the Congress general secretary will address three public rallies, the Gujarat Chief Minister is expected to address nine public rallies during the day. Given Modi's responses to speeches by Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi can expect a similarly acerbic response to whatever he may say during his rallies today.
with inputs from PTI