Rahul vs Modi a joke: Digvijaya Singh

Digvijaya Singh said that Congress won’t declare the PM candidate because it takes away the right of legislators to choose their leader.

NEW DELHI: The clamour for a Narendra Modi versus Gandhi Rahul showdown at the 2014 general elections has been constantly growing, but the Congress has downplayed such a possibility calling it a 'media joke'.

Traditionally, whenever there has been a talk of comparison between the two, the Congress has shrugged off such comparisons as a 'no contest'.

Two days after Rahul Gandhi embraced his role as the vice president of Congress, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh in a interview to NDTV said: "The Congress party does not declare the PM candidate because we don't want to take away the right of newly elected legislators to choose their leader. This is basic in parliamentary democracy. Therefore, we don't declare our leaders for PM candidate."

Saying that 2014 will not be contest between Modi and Rahul, Digvijaya was quoted by NDTV: "That (Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi in the 2014 elections) is a big joke made by the media."

Late on Saturday at a weekend long brainstorming meeting, Gandhi was anointed vice-president of the party, which carried India to independence from the British and has ruled for much of the 66 years since, headed four times by his kin.

Gandhi has so far said little about his views on how best to manage Asia's third-largest economy, which is headed for the slowest rate of growth in a decade this financial year.

In his speech, he called for an end to "red tape and outdated laws" that slow job creation. Along with his mother he has recently thrown his weight behind economic reforms that Prime Minister Singh has pushed in a bid to revive growth and stabilize the economy.

With no direct reference to his own hereditary ascent to prominence, Gandhi lashed out at entrenched elites he said stifled talent in India and fed discontent among the youth.

"Power is grossly centralized in our country, we only empower people at the top of a system," he said.

The theme of youth that dominated the three-day meeting, called to analyse challenges the party faces before the elections, echoed the 1980s era that brought his father Rajiv Gandhi into politics after the death of Indira Gandhi.

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