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India's ruling party names Rahul Gandhi its No. 2

JAIPUR, India -- Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India's Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, was elevated to the governing Congress Party's No. 2 post Saturday, positioning him to lead the party that his family has long dominated in parliamentary elections next year.

Gandhi, 42, will be the party vice president, behind his mother, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party president, spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi said.

Rahul Gandhi is now expected to be the party's candidate for prime minister in elections due in mid-2014.

"This decision will greatly strengthen the party," Dwivedi said in a statement after a meeting of the party's top policymaking body in Jaipur.

Manmohan Singh, a technocrat, was chosen to be prime minister in 2004 by Sonia Gandhi. Singh was widely seen as keeping the seat warm until Rahul Gandhi -- the son, grandson and great-grandson of prime ministers -- was ready.

But Gandhi displayed little sign that he is undergoing any sort of apprenticeship that would prepare him for running the country. He has never held a cabinet-level position. -- AP

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