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“He is our leader and we look forward to him leading us into battle in 2014,” I & B Minister Manish Tewari said on Sunday when asked about AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s role in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. He added that the Congress would not be averse to new political tie-ups in some states in the next general elections.
To a query whether the Congress would project Rahul as the leader in the next polls amidst the possibility of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi being talked about as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Tewari said there is an institutionalised arrangement, the diarchy between the Congress president and the PM has “worked very successfully for the last nine years”. He said, there have been demands that Rahul should be taking a far more proactive role both in the affairs of the party and that of the nation-state per se.
On the question of alliances, Tewari said, “We will attempt to keep our friends and allies together. I don’t see a difficulty with that and wherever there is a need and ground level feedback from Congress units that some kind of alliance options needs to be explored, I don’t think we will be averse to that.” While maintaining that “there may have been odd hiccups”, Tewari said the Congress has run a coalition for past nine years “fairly well”.
To a question on Congress contending with Modi in the next elections, he said the Congress is ready to face anybody.