The party said that becoming Prime Minister was "not a big thing" for a leader like its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is more interested in taking up the cause of the weaker sections.

"The country needs a national leader and not a mere Prime Minister," party spokesman Bhakt Charan Das said while at the same time suggesting that the Congress has an open mind on the issue and would take a call as per "national need".

"Those who fight for the oppressed and the poor, the dalits and adivasis know that their only hope is Rahul Gandhi and there is no leader like him. The country needs a national leader and not a mere Prime Minister," Das said.

Das, who was subjected to a volley of questions on the issue of PM candidate of Congress, insisted that "it is not incumbent on Congress to immediately declare its PM candidate".

"Have patience. You will come to know of it in time," he said. Asked whether he was ruling out Gandhi as the PM candidate, he said that every view becomes "insignificant before the national requirement”.

"I cannot predict what will happen in future. Congress has made many Prime Minister and also supported some. We had not declared our PM candidate in 2004. Only future will tell when the PM candidate will be declared,” he said.

(Agencies)

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