I’ll welcome Rahul’s entry into government, says PM (Third Lead)

August 11th, 2012 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) Bringing back into focus Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he was ready to play a larger political role, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said he would welcome the Congress general secretary into the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“I have always said that I will welcome Rahul’s entry (in the government),” Manmohan Singh told reporters after Vice President Hamid Ansari’s oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gandhi had recently announced that he was ready for a more proactive role both in the party and the government.

Sources said a clarification to this effect could come in September when a reshuffle in the party and the cabinet is expected after the ongoing monsoon session of parliament ends.

However, the prime minister’s statement failed to excite any major reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which said it was not concerned with the issue.

“Whom they (Congress) induct in government is their prerogative. We are not concerned,” said Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

Earlier too, the prime minister had invited Gandhi to join his cabinet but the young Congress leader was reluctant, indicating that rejuvenating the party was his priority.

Before parliament’s session started Aug 8, as many as 10 Congress MPs wrote to party president Sonia Gandhi to make Rahul Gandhi Leader of House in the Lok Sabha to succeed Pranab Mukherjee, now the country’s president.

But the slot went to Gandhi family loyalist Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, given his seniority and long administrative experience.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, considered to be close to Gandhi, has repeatedly said he would prefer the young leader to assume a bigger role in the party.

The debate on Rahul Gandhi’s “bigger role” was triggered after Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the party had seen only cameo roles from him and that he should guide a “directionless” party ahead of the 2014 general elections.

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