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Rediff.com  » Election » Stage set for Rahul to be India's PM: UK media

Stage set for Rahul to be India's PM: UK media

May 17, 2009 11:35 IST

The 'surprise' success of the Congress in India's general elections has paved the way for Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, to become the country's prime minister within a few years, the British media said on Sunday.

The UK media also said that the election result in the world's largest democracy is also likely to signal an end to the career of BJP's 81-year-old leader, L K Advani.

'The stage is set for Rahul Gandhi to become India's prime minister within the next few years after the ruling Congress party and its allies won an unexpectedly decisive victory in elections on Saturday,' The Sunday Times said.

Quoting analysts, the newspaper said, 'Gandhi's clean-cut character had huge appeal to voters jaded by a political culture that has long been tainted by corruption.'

'The dynamic, youthful image of Rahul was marketed by Congress to appeal to India's 43 million first-time voters. It was pitched to complement the reputation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the 76-year-old British-educated economist who is known as a safe pair of hands,' it said.

The paper said the 'surprise success' of Congress had crushed the aspirations of Left-wing parties and the third and fourth fronts while shattering (BSP chief) Mayawati's prime ministerial ambitions.

'Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, also saw her hopes of becoming the country's first Dalit prime minister dashed,' the Times said.

The Observer, meanwhile, said the result is likely to signal an end to the career of BJP's 81-year-old leader, L K Advani.

It said the 'shock election result strengthens power of Gandhi's ruling alliance to push through reform programme'.

'The voters nationwide gave an unexpectedly clear endorsement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's left-of-centre administration, setting the stage for an era of greater political stability,' The Observer said.

The newspaper said now it is not a question of if, but when the heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty will be elevated to a leading role within the government.

Some people believe that 38-year-oldĀ  Rahul Gandhi, who has dismissed the suggestion that he might be catapulted into the post, is following the footsteps of his father who became PM when he was 40.

'He would be following in the foot-steps of his great-gandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, who was prime minister twice before being assassinated in 1984, his father, Rajiv Gandhi, prime minister in the 1980s and assassinated in 1991, and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv's wife and now leader of the Congress party.'

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