Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla on Monday refused to comment on a report of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram likely to be the prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, saying it is up to the party high command and the Congress President to take a final call on this and one should not go by speculations and rumours.
Shukla said one should avoid any discussion or debate on this issue.
"It is up to the party high command and the Congress President to take a final call on whom to project as the Prime Ministerial candidate. We should leave it to them and avoid any discussion or debate on this topic. We should not go by what somebody has said or written," he said.
Economist, a leading international weekly, has said that Chidambaram is likely to be the Congress Party's prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections and not Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
"It's Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and not Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi who is likely to be the party's prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections in 2014," The Economist has said.
The Economist says since Chidambaram's fiercest rival President Pranab Mukherjee has been being elevated to the top post, Chidambaram is most suited to the prime ministerial post.
The leading international weekly says Chidambaram's growth -oriented outlook can give the nation the much-needed push.
As per Economist, while Manmohan Singh will be well past 80 after 2014 polls and Rahul is still unprepared for the PM's post, Chidambaram has got the right credentials to lead the nation, having been seen as the architect of UPA's populist cash transfer scheme (CTS).
"Chidambaram, who has also got the backing of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is adept at tackling economic challenges," the leading international weekly adds.
Chidambaram was elected to the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu in general elections held in 1984.
Chidambaram, a member of the Indian National Congress, was re-elected from the same constituency in the general elections of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2009.
This is Chidambaram's third stint as Finance Minister, having held the post in 1996-1998 and 2004-2008.
On November 30, 2008, he was appointed the Union Home Minister following the resignation of Shivraj Patil, who had come under intense pressure to tender his resignation following a series of terror attacks in India, including the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008. (ANI)