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Members of India's ruling party implore Rahul Gandhi to stand for PM

Oil minister calls the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty the country's leader for the 'present and future'.

JAIPUR // Leaders of the ruling Congress party yesterday clamoured for Rahul Gandhi - scion of India's Nehru-Gandhi dynasty - to be named the prime ministerial candidate ahead of next year's polls.

Mr Gandhi, 42, had preferred to take a back seat in the party's politics, concentrating on leading the Congress youth wing into the 2014 general elections.

But oil minister Veerappa Moily hailed Mr Gandhi as the country's leader for the "present and for the future" at a party meeting in the tourist city of Jaipur in northern India aimed at brainstorming for next year's elections. Another veteran Congress member, Mani Shankar Aiyar, said the party would back Mr Gandhi, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather all led India, should he decide to accept a bigger role.

Sanjay Nirupam, a Congress leader from the western Maharashtra state, also pitched at the meeting for Mr Gandhi to provide a fresh momentum to the party's electoral fortunes.

Mr Gandhi "is our candidate for the post of prime minister after the 2014 elections", Mr Nirupam said at the weekend meeting of the Congress party.

Congress, India's oldest political party, was routed in polls in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Goa last year.

Manmohan Singh, the 80-year-old prime minister, has been buffeted by falling economic growth and a damaging series of corruption scandals.

* Agence France-Presse