The Prime Minister said after a cabinet reshuffle today that he expects his coalition government to be re-elected for a third consecutive term. "We will have a third go as the UPA and the people will again repose their faith in us," Dr Manmohan Singh said.
He described Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is "a natural leader and said, "I would be happy to see him step into my shoes."
National elections are due by May. There has been speculation about whether Mr Gandhi, 42, who was formally appointed as the Congress's second-most senior leader after his mother, Sonia Gandhi, will agree to be his party's presumptive prime minister.
Mr Gandhi has told Congress leaders that his focus is on revamping the party, but there has been no clear indication of his plans. On the other hand, a few months ago, the Prime Minister had indicated that he is open to serving a third term.
Eight ministers were sworn into the cabinet today, seen as the last reshuffle before parliamentary elections.