Report: Gandhi, Modi may face off in India

Sept. 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Rahul Gandhi, a Congress Party chief, and Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi may face off in the 2014 Indian election, a U.S. congressional report says.

The independent, bipartisan Congressional Research Service predicts Modi could be a strong candidate for prime minister for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party while Gandhi could seek the position as the Indian National Congress party's candidate, the Press Trust of India reported.

"The 2009 polls may have represented a coming-out party of sorts for the younger Gandhi, who many expect to be put forward as Congress' prime ministerial candidate in scheduled 2014 elections," the report stated.

Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, the most prominent political family in India, and the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, the current Congress president. And Rahul is widely viewed as an heir to the Congress leadership, the report said.

But while he played a big role in the party's victories in 2009 general elections, the CRS report said, "This heir-apparent remains dogged by questions about his abilities to lead the party, given a mixed record as an election strategist, uneasy style in public appearances and reputation for gaffes."

Modi, chief minister of the Indian state Gujarat since 2001, is known for transforming the state into an economic power and controlling terrorism.

The report said he has "overseen impressive development successes in his state, but who is also dogged by controversy over his alleged complicity in lethal anti-Muslim rioting there in 2002" in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

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