Rahul Gandhi was today hailed as the "darling" of the Congress by former premier Manmohan Singh after he was poised to become the party president and was also described as a "capable leader" who would make a "very good" prime minister.
As Congress leaders heaped praise on the 47-year-old scion of the country's most fabled political dynasty after he filed his nomination for the post of party president, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal described it as a "historic moment."
"Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress...Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party," the normally taciturn Manmohan Singh told reporters at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here after Rahul Gandhi filed his papers.
Noting that Sonia Gandhi as Congress president has served the party and through it the country for the last 19 years, Manmohan Singh said Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party.
"And under his leadership, the Congress will regain power," Azad added.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Rahul Gandhi would make a very good prime minister.
"If you ask me, I think he will make a very good prime minister," said Amarinder Singh. Lok Sabha polls are due in 2019.
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu called Rahul Gandhi a "special leader with character" who, he said has come to the forefront during times of crisis.
"He has become matured, showed his character. The general is standing at the forefront alone and on the other hand there is this entire government. This is the sign of a leader," Sidhu told reporters here.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, a party MP from Madhya Pradesh, dubbed Rahul Gandhi's imminent elevation to the top post as a "new wave of hope". Rahul Gandhi has been Congress' vice president since January 2013.
All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev dubbed Gandhi a "symbol of strength, compassion and integrity" and said it was an honour to be led by him.