In a statement that is bound to ruffle the feathers in the opposition, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he would become the Prime Minister if the Congress emerges as the largest party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be the Prime Minister again.
"Well that depends... that depends on how well the Congress does. I mean... the Congress, if it's the biggest party, yes," he said in reply to a question at an interaction with eminent citizens in Bengaluru.
This is the second time Rahul Gandhi has expressed his readiness to be the Prime Minister if the Congress gets a majority in next year's Lok Sabha polls.
In September last year, speaking to students in Berkley, he had said that he was "absolutely ready" to be the Prime Minister.
The statement assumes significance in the context of parties that want to keep equidistance from both the BJP and Congress and are working for a Third Front or Federal Front, which would not want to work under Gandhi.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has already met leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and DMK's MK Stalin in efforts to tie up a Federal Front of parties.
Replying to a question whether Modi could become Prime Minister again, Gandhi said: "I am pretty convinced that Modi is not going to be the Prime Minister... I can see it on his face. He knows it."
Reacting to his remarks, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said: "As far as Rahul Gandhi's desire to become the Prime Minister is concerned, that comes with a sense of amusement to us.
"It has an entertainment value... He, earlier as the Vice President of the party, had been responsible for Congress election disaster and as President of Congress also. Election after election, a string of elections, he has lost for the Congress," he said.
He said Rahul Gandhi would go down in history as the party leader who has faced the highest number of defeats. "The PM is right about Rahul, this election is a fight between 'naamdars' and â€˜kaamdars'," Patra said.