Jan 8, 2009

India - Rahul Gandhi on way to become prime minister: Mukherjee

With national elections round the corner, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said Congress party general secretary Rahul Gandhi was set to assume the office of prime minister.

"Days are not far off for Rahul Gandhi to become Indian prime minister," Mukherjee told the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Chennai when asked why India does not have a larger number of young political leaders assuming key offices.

"Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister when he was 40 and his son Rahul Gandhi will follow his footsteps."

Mukherjee said India had a tradition of young leaders at key government positions. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was just 30 when he became chief minister of Assam and now Omar Abdullah, 38, had taken over a similar position in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

Earlier, Indo-Canadian parliamentarian Ruby Dhalla said she was the youngest female member of her country's House of Commons and hoped to see a similar trend in far greater numbers in India - a country that has the largest youth population in the world.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba-born student of biochemistry and political science represents the riding of Brampton-Springdale as a member of the Liberal Party in the Canadian parliament

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