Two power centres an ”ideal” for future: Cong
The party at the same time kept on the suspense over who will be its Prime Ministerial candidate in the next general elections notwithstanding the chorus for projecting Rahul Gandhi.
"The relationship which has existed between Sonia Gandhi as Party President and Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister is something, which is not usually seen everywhere and is unique. I think, for any democracy, this is an ideal model even for the future," party's media department in-charge and general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters.
Noting that it is political parties that elect their Prime Minister after contesting elections, he said, "Generally it is seen that some visible or invisible tension, misunderstanding (between the government and the party) surfaces.
"Here (in the UPA) both the party and the government have continued to function with dignity and mutual understanding. What better situation could be there for a democracy?"
Digvijay Singh had recently dubbed the experiment of "two power centres" in UPA as a failure and suggested that Rahul should not opt to nominate a Prime Minister if the party gets a majority in the next Lok Sabha polls.
"Personally, I feel this model hasn't worked very well. Because, I personally feel there should not be two power centres and I think whoever is the PM must have the authority to function," Singh had said.
Rahul had earlier said that strengthening the organisation was his priority and it was "wrong" to ask him questions about Prime Ministership.
Dwivedi said, "Rahul Gandhi has been made Congress Vice President. Since he has been given the responsibility of the organisation, hence strengthening party and organisation is his priority. What happens thereafter is decided by the party. Today Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister and this arrangement is working well."
Dwivedi recalled that while announcing Gandhi's appointment as Congress Vice President in Jaipur after the Chintan Shivir, he had said, "As far the question of campaign and leadership is concerned, the party will decide it later."
"Today, Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister and everybody accepts him," he said.
Referring to the relations between the Prime Minister and the Congress President, he said unlike other political parties where the party chief and the head of the government share uneasy relations, in UPA the two have shared a good equation for a long time.
A senior party leader requesting anonymity said Prime Manmohan Singh's statement on the issue of Prime Ministership should not be interpreted as Singh pitching himself for a third term.
Asked whether he would accept another term in office if Congress President Sonia Gandhi offers him prime ministership again after 2014, Singh had said a few days back "these are all hypothetical questions. We will cross that bridge when we reach there".
On whether he would continue to contribute to public life and whether he has the drive and energy to do that after crossing the age of 80, Singh replied, "I have tried my very best to serve this country with all sincerity and dedication. Whether I have succeeded or not, it is for the public at large, the people of India to decide to judge."
Making a strong pitch for Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress, Digvijay Singh had said he strongly feels that "…when time comes and if the Congress gets majority or it is in a position to form the government, I think Rahul Gandhi should take the call."
The Congress leader had also said, "Even if a Congress-led coalition emerges, he (Rahul) is mature enough to handle the intricacies of coalition politics."
"Then of course, we have senior leaders who have very successfully helped the UPA to complete two terms… Of course, Sonia Gandhi will always be there to help out," he added.
Digvijay Singh's brief response to the Dwivedi's comments was "everyone is entitled to his opinion".
To a question about whether Rahul Gandhi will become the Prime Minister as he has earlier said his priority is the organisation, Dwivedi said, "What I and the party have understood of what Rahul Gandhi said is that there is no question of Prime Ministership right now. A government is functioning and there is a Prime Minister in place."
"This should not be taken otherwise. Rahulji has said that today the organisation is his priority. Since he has been made the Vice President of the Party, the target before him is to strengthen the party and the organisation. When that situation (about choosing Prime Minister) comes, we will look at that."
"Today Manmohan Singh is our Prime Minister and people accept him in one voice. We all are related to each other like a family."
Recalling that he had said during the Chintan Shivir as well that the party will decide about who will lead the campaign or the party in the 2014 elections at a later stage, Dwivedi said.
Hailing the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Congress President as one that has been carried out with full dignity, he said that no other democracy in the world has such an example.
He said that in all democracies it is the party which decides the policies of the government and who will be its Prime Ministerial candidate after winning elections. Some visible or invisible differences come out between the two.
"But here the kind of relationship that existed (between the Congress President and the Prime Minister) for a long time, the unity of opinion that has remained…does not find a parallel in any democracy in the world," Dwivedi said.