Manmohan Singh says will quit PMship in favour of Rahul Gandhi, slams Narendra Modi over top job

Jan 03 2014, 21:28 IST
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In his speech, PM Manmohan Singh, addressing a press conference, sought to battle Narendra Modi's powerful persona and highlight Rahul Gandhi as best person to lead India. In his speech, PM Manmohan Singh, addressing a press conference, sought to battle Narendra Modi's powerful persona and highlight Rahul Gandhi as best person to lead India.
SummaryNarendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi on mind, Manmohan Singh says, 'I am not weak'.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today ruled himself out of the race for prime ministership after the next elections holding that Rahul Gandhi had "outstanding credentials" for the top job but said Narendra Modi as PM will be "disastrous" for the country.

He said the Congress party would decide on its prime ministerial candidate and announce it at an "appropriate" time.

Addressing a press conference, the third in his two terms, Manmohan Singh sought to dispel the negative image of his government and the tag of weak prime minister for him after nine and half years in office saying he had done his best and put the country on a good growth momentum.

"I do not believe I am a weak prime minister. It is for historians to judge. The BJP and its associates may say whatever they like. If by strong prime minister you mean you preside over mass massacre of innocent citizens on the streets of Ahmedabad, if that is the measure of strength, I do not believe that that this country needs that kind of strength.

In his opening statement itself, the Manmohan Singh said after the general elections in a few months time "I will hand the baton over to a new prime minister. I hope it will be a UPA chosen prime minister and our party will work to that end."

The Prime Minister, faced a number of questions on corruption charges that sullied the image of UPA 2, asserted that the controversies surrounding coal blocks allocation scam and the 2G spectrum licences pertained to UPA I and people had voted the coalition back to power in 2009.

"Well as far as charge of corruption are concerned, most of the charges relate to period of UPA I. The coal block allocation as well 2G spectrum allocation, they were both in UPA I. We went to the electorate in 2009 and people gave us mandate to rule again.

"These charges have been raised from time to time by the media, CAG and courts. They belong to the previous five years. People of India entrusted us with the responsibility to rule Agni. They do no seem to have paid heed to all

charges of corruption," he said.

Asked if he could have done something differently on the corruption issue since it has tainted his Mr. Clean image, Singh said he felt "somewhat sad. It was I who insisted that spectrum allocation should be transparent and fair. It

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