ON BOARD PM’S SPECIAL AIRCRAFT: Indicating he was ready to play any role in the Congress after the 2014 general elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday he would be “very happy” to work under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

Mr Singh also maintained that Mr Gandhi, the Congress vice-president, would be an “ideal choice” for the premier’s post after the next Lok Sabha polls.

“I have always maintained that Rahul Gandhi would be an ideal choice for the PM post after 2014 elections. I will be very happy to work in the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi,” the prime minister told reporters accompanying him on board the special Air India aircraft on his way home after attending the G20 summit in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Mr Singh also did not rule out any alliances with erstwhile ally Trinamool Congress in the future, saying in politics there were no permanent enemies and permanent friends. He was asked whether the Congress would seek an alliance with Trinamool for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“In politics, there are no permanent enemies and permanent friends. And in many ways, a week in politics is sometimes an unusually long period of time,” he said, adding, “So, I don’t rule out, for example, alliances.”

Noting that Mamata Banerjee was a very respectable member of the Congress party at one time, the prime minister said the Congress was also very happy to have her in the UPA government.

Mr Singh said the Congress would very much like like-minded, secular-minded persons to work again to give the country’s polity a thrust in favour of secular elements.

By arrangement with Times of India

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