On Board Air India One – Congressmen's demand for Rahul Gandhi's 'bigger role' in party prior to 2014 polls have got another fillip today as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed that Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi can take a greater role in government. He said that he has given him invitations number of times.
He said,"I have invited him to be a member of the cabinet several times. I have said it several times that Rahal Gandhi should play a greater role," he told reporters on board the special aircraft bringing him back home after his four-day trip to Tehran.
"I sincerely hope this time he would consider it more seriously," the prime minister said. But, he also, said, he does not have "inside knowledge" what Gandhi was planning to do.
Earlier too, the prime minister had invited Gandhi to join his cabinet but the young Congress leader was reluctant, indicating that rejuvenating the party was his priority. Breaking his silence for the first time, Gandhi, 42, said in July that he will play a more proactive role in the party and the government. But he also said the timing is up to the leadership.
Congress leaders have been raising the matter of Gandhi joining either the party or the government from time to time.
The debate on Gandhi's "bigger role" was triggered after Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the party had seen only cameo roles from him and that he should guide a "directionless" party ahead of the 2014 general elections.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, considered close to Gandhi, had also said that Gandhi could play a bigger role by September. Before parliament's session started Aug 8, as many as 10 Congress MPs wrote to party President Sonia Gandhi to make Rahul Gandhi Leader of House in the Lok Sabha to succeed Pranab Mukherjee, now the country's president.
But the slot went to Gandhi family loyalist, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, given his seniority and long administrative experience.
Party leaders have been hoping that Gandhi plays a more active role that would energise workers and give a boost to the government's image, battered by allegations of indecision, corruption and financial imprudence.
Though, there has been so far no word from Gandhi, his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi had said that no one can take a decision on his behalf and he himself will have to do so.