Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he was ready to become prime minister if the Congress emerges as the single-largest party in the next general elections, PTI reported.

Gandhi was speaking to reporters after launching the Samruddha Bharat Foundation –
a platform to propagate liberal, secular and republican values” – in Bengaluru. Film director Shyam Benegal and noted Supreme Court advocate KTS Tulsi are among its trustees.

“I am pretty convinced that Mr [Narendra] Modi is not going to be the prime minister after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Gandhi said. “I can see it in his face. He knows it.”

He said the likelihood of him becoming prime minister depended on how well the Congress performs in the election. “If the Congress party is the biggest party, yes,” Gandhi said. “It is highly unlikely that the BJP will form the next government, and the second part is that it is close to impossible that Mr Modi will be the next prime minister.”

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said while Gandhi had the right to dream about becoming the prime minister, even Congress’ allies were not accepting him as their leader, PTI reported.

“Look at the irony, Congress is losing state after state ever since Gandhi took over as party’s vice president and then party chief,” Hussain told reporters in New Delhi. “To become the prime minister, he has to win some, at least some state elections and make chief ministers of his choice. Under his leadership, the party is not winning any state election and he is dreaming of becoming the prime minister.”

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said Gandhi statement was immature, PTI reported. “If he [Gandhi] is going to get all these parties together, the Congress will not be able to get more than 100 seats,” Swamy told reporters in Kolkata, where he met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”His statement indicates he wants to break the alliance. Otherwise how can he win by a single majority?”

The Rajya Sabha MP claimed that the Nehru-Gandhi family’s days were over. “The Nehru family has always got things done very easily without putting in much effort,” he said.