Verma said that although Rahul's name may not have been formally announced as the party's prime ministerial candidate, the absence of any opposition to recent statements by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear as to who would be his successor in the top post.

During his visit to St Petersburg in Russia to attend the G-20 Summit earlier this month, Singh had said, "I have always maintained that Rahul would be an ideal choice for the PM's post after 2014 elections. I will be very happy to work in the Congress under his leadership."

Talking to the reporters about the row over Rahul's denunciation of the controversial Union Cabinet ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Verma said that the party was with him on the issue.

He termed the ordinance a mistake and said it would be withdrawn once the Prime Minister returned to India upon completion of his US visit. Referring to the recent violence in Muzaffarnagar, Verma alleged that the episode had taken place with the connivance of the ruling SP and BJP.

Meanwhile, reacting to Verma's statement, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said that the Union minister's political behaviour left a lot to be desired and it would cost him dearly during Lok Sabha elections.

(Agencies)

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