Gandhi to lead campaign for India ruling party

2014-01-17 10:03
Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi gestures as he addresses Congress supporters at the party's headquarters in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi gestures as he addresses Congress supporters at the party's headquarters in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi - Members of India's ruling Congress party erupted in rapturous applause on Friday for Rahul Gandhi, heir to the country's Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who is leading the struggling party's campaign in a general election in May.

Congress announced late on Thursday that the party will not formally declare Gandhi as its candidate for prime minister, a bit of political manoeuvring aimed at protecting the 43-year-old from being a scapegoat for his party's problems.

But the election is still seen as a contest that pits Gandhi against a powerful opposition figure, Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party has significant momentum after trouncing Congress in state polls in December.

The state polls were seen as a gauge of voter sentiment in India, a country of 1.2 billion people and the world's biggest democracy.

A birthright

On Friday, thousands of Congress party leaders and workers hoisted posters of Gandhi and shouted "We want Rahul for PM" during a meeting in Delhi to prepare for the upcoming polls. They were asking Sonia Gandhi, the current head of the Congress party and Rahul's mother, to reverse her decision not to formally declare him as a candidate.

Rahul Gandhi was expected to address the crowd later on Friday.

But the euphoria comes at a time when the Congress Party's stock is low, battered by corruption scandals, internal feuding, and an inability to deal with a stumbling economy and deep-rooted problems with poverty, infrastructure and education.

Modi, meanwhile, has been chief minister of western Gujarat state for the past 11 years and is credited with turning it into an industrial haven. Critics question whether the Hindu nationalist chief can be a truly secular leader over India's many cultures.

Sonia Gandhi played on those fears on Friday, telling the gathering in New Delhi that the election "will be a battle for the preservation of our age old secular traditions".

Modi has denied any role in the Gujarat violence and says he bears no responsibility for the killings.

Manmohan Singh has been India's prime minister for the past 10 years but said this month he would not seek another term. A technocrat, he was chosen to fill the prime minister's seat in 2004 by Sonia Gandhi, the widow of assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

But he has been widely seen as a regent, keeping the seat warm until Rahul Gandhi was ready to take what some see as his birthright.

- AP
Read more on:    sonia gandhi  |  manmohan singh  |  rahul gandhi  |  india
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is easy to get bogged down by things today. The Taurus Moon highlights the comforts and pleasures of life. You may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.